By Shannon Watts, via USA Today
New technology will keep the weapons out of the hands of children and criminals.
Gun violence is a public health crisis in America. Each day, 33 Americans are murdered with guns – including eight children or teens. From mass shootings to more everyday incidents, our eyes are now wide open to this national epidemic. And as Americans, we owe it to each other to stop its spread by implementing solutions like safer gun laws and fostering innovative technologies – including personalized guns.
The technology already exists to ensure a gun is used only by the actual authorized user of a weapon, and if widely disseminated, it would be a game-changer for keeping guns out of the hands of children and criminals.
A personalized — or “smart” — gun is a firearm that aims to reduce misuse through the use of an RFID chip or other proximity device, fingerprint recognition, or magnetic ring that allows only authorized persons to use the weapon. This technology could help reduce or eliminate “accidental” shootings or suicides by children and teens, and render a gun useless if it is stolen from its owner.
Unfortunately, the gun lobby has stood in the way of progress in personalization technology, claiming that it infringes on the rights of gun owners. We cannot allow a few extreme voices to stand in the way of a technology that could save lives and in no way infringes on Second Amendment rights. As a country, we must do everything in our power and use all the tools at our disposal to help treat this out-of-control epidemic.
It is painful to think about the lives that could have been saved if this common-sense and readily available technology had been brought to market in the United States ten years ago.
This modern day solution to the persistent problem of gun violence must be pursued, with or without the support of America’s intransigent gun lobby.
Shannon Watts is the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which recently merged with Mayors Against Illegal Guns.