Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Sister Newspapers' News

May 16, 2013

Mass. Lawmaker favors switch to 'smart gun' technology

GLOUCESTER, Mass. — In the most recent James Bond thriller “Skyfall,” 007 packs a pistol coded to his palm print that fires only when he holds it — a high-tech feature that saves his life when the gun falls into the wrong hands.

U.S. Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass.,  introduced a bill this week that could make that technology a common feature of handguns in the next two years.

The bill would not restrict gun ownership or infringe on a gun owner’s Second Amendment rights, Tierney said during a conference call with advocates of gun violence prevention.

It’s a move meant to make gun ownership safer, he said.

John Rosenthal of Gloucester, Mass., who chairs the nonprofit group Stop Handgun Violence, said Tierney’s bill has the potential to revolutionize gun ownership without infringing on citizens’ right to bear arms.

It has the potential, he said, to cut down on the 11,000 gun homicides last year, many of them committed with stolen weapons. The nation also saw 19,000 suicides carried out with guns last year, something smart-gun technology could lessen. Also, he said, it could cut down on incidents of young children accidentally shooting themselves or others.

Technology would be developed that would limit who could fire the weapon. Tierney’s bill would authorize grants to develop smart-gun technology.

The bill holds gun makers liable if they fail to make handguns that meet the government safety standard two years after the bill passes.

Dave Franks, the owner of Dave Franks Motorcycles Sales in Salem, Mass.,  said the legislation is flawed,  calling it a “waste of time and money.” He said people can already secure their firearms by locking them up. His business stopped selling guns because it involved filling out too many forms, he said.

”Irresponsible people is the problem,” Franks said. “It’s not the device.”

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Details for this story were provided by te Gloucester (Mass.) Daily News.

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