Could smart gun technology make guns safer without riling gun rights advocates?
That was the topic of a Seattle Smart Gun Symposium held Jan. 28th at the Washington Athletic Club, sponsored by Washington Cease Fire and the Washington Technology Industry Association.
Smart guns can only be fired by the owner. They contain personal identification technology that disables the gun if someone other than the owner tries to fire it.
“It’s a middle ground solution that I think both gun owners and those of us dedicated to gun safety can agree on,” said Ralph Fascitelli of Washington Cease Fire.
Fascitelli also said there’s evidence smart guns would be popular.
“We’ve done research that 87 percent of gun owners would like existing gun dealers to be able to sell smart guns,” he said.
Dave Workman, senior editor of The Gun Mag, agreed. The Gun Mag is a publication of the Second Amendment Foundation based in Bellevue.
“I don’t think anybody – and I’ve interviewed the NRA, I’ve spoken to the National Shooting Sports Foundation – none of those organization is against smart gun technology,” Workman said. “In fact, they’ve said the opposite. Their concern is the mandate.”
New Jersey has a law that says three years after smart gun technology starts being sold in the U.S., only smart guns can be sold in the state.
Workman said that goes too far.
“That’s a major league problem for consumers, for Second Amendment activists,” he said. “You know the gun community just doesn’t like being told, ‘You gotta do this.’”
Washington Cease Fire’s survey also shows 62 percent of gun owners would oppose laws requiring that only smart guns be sold.
For the moment, though, it’s a theoretical debate. No one can currently buy a smart gun, as they’re not on the market. There is no accepted standard for the technology.