89 years after Smith & Wesson advertised a safe gun, most gun makers produce firearms that fall far short of the standards the company set, says the Detroit News. In a series on gun safety, the paper says that even America's biggest gun maker has retreated from some features in its super safe firearm.
The firearm had a manual safety and grip safety. The grip safety and the trigger had to be depressed at the same time, making it nearly impossible for young children to discharge the weapon accidentally and forcing the gun handler, said Smith & Wesson, “to think before firing.”
The lack of safety features in many guns in America poses a serious risk to gun owners. Gun makers are allowed to decide what safety features, if any, to use on their weapons because no federal agency can set standards for firearms manufactured in the country. Not only have gun makers ignored long-established safety options, but they have been slow to embrace new technology, the News says.
In 1996, the Sandia National Laboratories – a highly respected research unit in the Department of Energy – completed a $620,000 study for the National Institute of Justice on available technology to personalize police guns and prevent their unauthorized use. The government funded the study because statistics showed 16 percent of officers killed in the line of duty were shot with their own weapons, or those of their partners, by assailants who managed to get the guns.
Among the technology examined by Sandia and discussed by the News:
Proximity sensor-operated guns.
Touch memory guns.
Palm print-operated guns.
Fingertip sweat pores-operated guns.
Voice recognition-activated guns.
Magnetic ring-controlled guns.
Built-in combination locks.