For the first time on Friday, Vice President Joe Biden indicated the White House gun violence task force was interested in so-called “smart gun” technology, which would prevent a gun from being used by anyone but the person that bought it.”A lot could change, for example, if every gun could only be fired by the person who purchased it,” Biden said at a meeting with members of the video-game industry on Friday.
According to the pool report, Biden also “noted that might have changed something in the case of the shootings in Connecticut.”
The smart-gun technology has been floated as an option in the wake of the massacre that left 20 children and seven others dead in Newtown, Conn., last month. The gunman in the Newtown shooting used firearms that had been purchased by his mother. Smart guns would analyse biometrics and grip pattern to determine whether guns were ending up in different hands.
But gun-industry and gun-owner groups, including the NRA, are not fond of the idea. The New York Times’ Nick Bilton explained why:
“These safety options exist today. This is not Buck Rogers type of stuff,” said Robert J. Spitzer, a professor of political science at SUNY Cortland and the author of four books on gun policy.
But gun advocates are staunchly against these technologies, partly because so many guns are bought not in gun shops, but in private sales. “Many guns are bought and sold on the secondary market without background checks, and that kind of sale would be inhibited with fingerprinting-safety technologies in guns,” he said.
Meanwhile, other White House priorities to curb the recent rash of gun violence are starting to take shape. On Friday, the White House brushed back on suggestions that it would not pursue a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban. White House spokesman Matt Lehrich called reports that President Barack Obama wouldn’t look for reinstatement false, saying because it would be “politically difficult” wasn’t a concern.
On Wednesday, Biden said that there were some recommendations that had come up repeatedly in his meetings with different groups — closing the so-called “gun show loophole” and instituting universal background checks. He also mentioned a possible limit on high-capacity magazines, as well as improving the “ability of any federal agency to do research on gun violence.”
He also caused a stir when he said the White House had determined it could “take executive action” on measures to curb gun violence.
Biden said he was still on track to deliver his recommendations to Obama by Tuesday.
The U.S. “problem beyond quote-unquote massacres,” Biden said Friday. “There are 10,000 people a year gunned down in our cities. It’s a real problem. It’s serious.” But he said there was “no silver bullet” to solving the problem.
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