Shooting Sports News

New Senate Bill Requires All Handguns to Be “Smart Guns”

Personalized handguns such as this Intelligun-equiped 1911 pistol, are designed to be capable of firing only when held by their owners.

Personalized handguns such as this Intelligun-equiped 1911 pistol, are designed to be capable of firing only when held by their owners.

United States Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) announced on Wednesday that he will be introducing a new bill called “The Handgun Trigger Safety Act.” The bill will require all handguns manufactured in the United States be fitted with technology that allows the firearm to only be fired by its owner. The Massachusetts lawmaker says these “personalized handguns” or “smart guns” will make it harder for stolen or otherwise illegally obtained firearms to be used in crimes.

“No one wants children to get access to a handgun and hurt themselves or others,” said Senator Markey in a press release. “In the 21st century, we should use advances in technology to our own advantage and save lives, and the Handgun Trigger Safety Act will help ensure that only authorized users can operate handguns. This is the type of gun safety legislation that everyone—regardless of political party or affiliation—should be able to support.”

Personalized guns and laws mandating their use are hardly new. Last year US Representative John Tierney (D-MA) introduced a similar bill after he saw demonstrations of smart gun technology firsthand.

“This technology was developed and exists, but in the past was shelved because of efforts of the powerful gun lobby,” Tierney said at the time. “This does not in any way restrict somebody’s ability to own a gun. It recognizes and honors the Second Amendment.”

Like the bill introduced by Tierney, The Handgun Trigger Safety Act would require firearm manufacturers to equip their guns with the technology within two years of the bill’s passage or face stiff penalties. Going further, Markey is pushing for all parties selling a handgun, whether an individual or a business, to retrofit the firearm before the gun can be sold. The bill also calls for the allocation of $10 million in research into gun violence.

“We need to study gun violence like the public health crisis it is,” continued Senator Markey. “Funding for a federal gun violence research agenda should be a permanent priority so that we no longer look back and say that we didn’t commit any resources to a cause of death that took more people last year than leukemia.”

Gun rights advocates have long criticized the technology as being new and unproven. Smart guns work by the addition of a device that allows the gun to recognize its owner, such as radio identification, magnets, or biometric scanners. Few companies manufacture firearms equipped with this technology, and fewer still have their products commercially available. One such manufacturer is Kodiak Industries and its “Intelligun” fingerprint locking technology. The accessory, which is currently available for 1911-type pistols, locks a gun until it recognizes the correct fingerprint.

You can see a demonstration of the Intelligun below:

A poll taken last year by McKeon & Associates and released by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) showed that gun owners are largely skeptical of the technology and most are unlikely to purchase a smart gun. According to the poll, 84 percent of gun owners surveyed responded that they believe smart guns are not reliable.

“The National Shooting Sports Foundation does not oppose the development of owner authorized technology for firearms and, should such products come to market, individuals should be able to decide for themselves whether they want to purchase them,” said Larry G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. ”However, we do oppose legislative mandates that would require manufacturers to produce only such firearms.”

It is a sentiment echoed by the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, which opposes any law that requires the use of the technology but does not oppose further smart gun development. NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre said in the past that he believes common sense and zero-tolerance policies towards violent criminals are the best solution to gun crime, rather than smart gun technology or firearm bans.

Many gun owners also believe that any legislation requiring smart gun technology is an attempt at gun control at a federal level. Of the McKeon & Associates poll, 70 percent of both gun owners and non-gun owners said they did not believe the government should require smart gun technology should it become available. Of those polled, 17 percent approved of a mandate and 13 percent remained undecided.

Image screenshot of video by Kim Wallace on YouTube

Any views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of OutdoorHub. Comments on this article reflect the sole opinions of their writers.
  • tompro97

    Just another demagogue attempt at national gun control – these idiots like Markey and his clones will be the death of America yet. The technology is VERY questionable, not reliable, and probably never will be. The study of gun violence will be $10 million flushed down the drain as well – gun violence has been studied for decades and NO ONE has yet to come up with any viable answers.

  • john david

    B.S. How expensive this will be. People like to shoot friend’s guns and this will not allow that. What are they going to round up every gun out there and make them be fitted , too? Do they think criminals are going to do this ? Find something useful to do rather than sitting there thinking of what bills you can pass so that you can brag about how many bills you introduced and how many were passed !!!

  • Oz

    Lima Charlie John and Tom, I couldn’t have expressed my discontent any better.

  • tc50hawken

    Follow the money. How large was Intelligun’s campaign contribution to Markey? How much did they give to the Brady campaign?

  • Jack Skrceny

    If it passes it will really increase gun sales. I will buy 2 more pistols, one for my wife and one for my daughter. That’s putting guns in the hands of more honest citizens. I love it !!

    • Patriot One

      Yep! Buy one for every family member!
      A thought: I guess the government will have the ability to turn this device off when they decide to confiscate the guns??

    • Lawrence Green

      I have read that a p38 would be in the price range of a 1911. Go for it. The technology will be marketed wether or not it is mandated by the government. You don’t need the government to tell you what to do.

  • Lawrence Green

    I quit using the finger print sensor on my computer because it was unreliable. Sometimes took several swipes of my print to unlock my computer, then it got to where it wouldn’t work at all. You can reset it, but if this were on a handgun, it could get you killed.

  • conservative

    Please, please make these idiots go away.

  • EJF

    $10,000,000 more on useless research. These corrupt fanatics in Washington are addicted to spend money that we do not have. They need to be removed from office and replaced with common sense people. We need to get more honest people registered to vote them out. The present Professional Politicians love having the power to control every aspect of our lives. They will never stop.

  • Gene

    How about a Bill that requires all Senators and Congressmen to prove they’re not DumbAsses!

  • Louie F

    sure, it recognizes the 2nd amendment, but if this legislation passes it will be effective in stopping the manufacture of handguns, as no one in their right mind will be willing to spend extra money. Instead, I think it will promote and increase firearm theft as even the burglars and thieves won’t want those firearms either. They’ll be looking for yours!

    • http://www.m4040.com/ M40

      …and exactly how many minutes after this law passes will it take for criminals to learn how to bypass this “safety” device? If you can hotwire a car, it’s a simple measure to bypass a chip in a gun’s grip.

      I wonder how much stock Markey has in the company that developed this silly bit of technology?

  • maxsenior

    I agree, now you will pay more, can’t sell, trade or pass the gun to any family member. If I was a Police Officer and got wounded, then my partrner could not use my gun to help him…pretty sad if you ask me.

  • David

    If the “Smart Gun” Owner is not home, other members of the family would be unable to protect themselves if someone breaks into their home. So … Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) take your “Smart Gun” Bill and shove it … because it will do Nothing to stop Criminals or Terrorists or Mass Shooters … all it will do is handicap Law Abiding American Gun Owners.

    • http://www.m4040.com/ M40

      Handicapping law abiding gun owners isn’t some unanticipated side-effect of a law like this… it is in fact the END GOAL of Ed Marxey and all the other Marxist reptiles that slink around the sewers of our capitol.

  • Michael Teegarden

    Seems like a great technology that people may want to choose to have, but it shouldn’t be legislated. I can see how something like the Intelligun technology can be added to a 1911 or any gun with replaceable grips, but how do you incorporate this into other handguns that don’t have replaceable grips with out modifying the gun and potentially making it bulky? Glocks, Smith and Wesson M&P, Sprindfield Armory XD and XDm lines all have solid grips. How do you add to some of the newer slim handguns without adding bulk? The tech is just way too new to be required and it doesn’t need to be required.

  • hubcap52

    How about a law requiring “smart” legislators.

    • http://www.m4040.com/ M40

      Now THAT is legislation I could get behind… except that there probably aren’t enough smart legislators in America to fill the seats in Washington, never mind all the state and local seats!

  • ASCE

    How ways ‘ spild to China,and what spent solly money

  • http://www.m4040.com/ M40

    TENS OF MILLIONS of people walk around every day with loaded weapons at hand, yet they develop no “bloodlust”… no ill intent… and find no reason to harm others.

    Yet, if you toss a mere HUNDRED black market guns into the streets of your average “inner-city”… you have a recipe for dozens of brutal murders (not to mention burglaries, rapes, gang wars, mutilation and mayhem).

    So… is this group of a HUNDRED guns… somehow inherently more dangerous than the HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of legal guns in America?

    Have we become so “politically correct”, that we cannot recognize… that the actual guns are NOT the dangerous part of the equation?

    Will we continue with the big charade, and pass laws that punish a hundred million law-abiding people… while letting serious, hardened criminals skate… all because we don’t want to “offend” certain segments of our population?

  • Andre-Luc Dube

    Keep your old glove with a hole in them … might need it to use that one… proper training for everybody would save us for using old glove… and why if the battery die when you need it… everyone should know basic of gun since they are part of the world and most people gonna have to deal with one one day or another…and he could save life if everybody would know how to at least make sure the gun is safe before they move it touch it or what ever they intend to do with it