Since the 1990s, inventors have been developing firearms with technologies that can authenticate their users and stop working if held by the wrong hands. Several manufacturers have tried to introduce Americans to the concept, but the U.S. market here has been less than friendly over concerns that they are unreliable and would lead to more gun control, reports NPR. Supporters hope that President Obama’s new executive actions could turn things around. Obama directed the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security to “conduct or sponsor research into gun safety technology that would reduce the frequency of accidental discharge or unauthorized use of firearms, and improve the tracing of lost or stolen guns.”
At the White House yesterday, Obama said, “If we can set it up so you can’t unlock your phone unless you’ve got the right fingerprint, why can’t we do the same thing for our guns? If there’s an app that can help us find a missing tablet … there’s no reason we can’t do it with a stolen gun. If a child can’t open a bottle of aspirin, we should make sure that they can’t pull a trigger on a gun.” Stephen Teret of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research notes that Obama directs the agencies to “explore potential ways to further” the use and development of smart gun technology as well as consult with other agencies that buy firearms to see if smart guns could be considered for acquisition.