With a quick electronic scan of a fingerprint, gun shop owners in Massachusetts will know immediately if a customer is eligible to buy a weapon, reports the Associated Press. Officials say the Massachusetts Instant Record Check System is the first of its kind in the nation. Developed over the past six years with nearly $7 million in information technology grant money, it will be in place in all police departments and gun shops across the state by next summer. It now operates in three shops and about 140 police departments.
The system allows police and gun shop owners to have instant access to updated arrest warrant and restraining order information, which was not readily accessible under the old paperwork-intensive system. “It represents a real quantum leap in public safety information technology applications,” Public Safety Secretary Ed Flynn said. “This enables us to make sure that the only people bearing arms in the commonwealth have the right to bear arms.” Massachusetts will be the first state with a biometric-based firearms license and sales application, Flynn said. Biometrics are physical identifiers, such as facial photographs and fingerprints.