Congressman Bobby Rush

Representing the 1st District of Illinois

Rush Calls on Justice Department to Update Research Report on Gun Safety Technologies

Oct 22, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) introduced legislation requiring the Department of Justice to update the National Institute of Justice’s research report on gun safety technologies.

Firearms with advanced gun safety technology — often called “smart guns” or “personalized firearms” — are designed to contain authorization systems that exclusively permit an authorized user or set of users to operate or fire the gun and automatically deactivate it under a set of specific circumstances.  These technologies can greatly reduce the chances of accidental or purposeful use by an unauthorized user.

Additionally, a survey of 287,400 prisoners who committed gun related offenses, recently published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, found that more than half of prisoners surveyed had either stolen the firearm, found it at the scene of the crime, or obtained it off the street or from the underground market.  Most of the remainder (25%) had obtained it from a family member or friend, or as a gift.

“When it comes to reducing and ultimately eliminating gun violence, we must take an ‘all-of-the-above ‘approach.  Not only must we decrease illegal access to firearms, we must also make lawful gun ownership safer for gun-owners and their families.  Gun safety technologies could achieve both goals.

“Moreover, given that many firearm offenses are carried out with someone else’s gun, gun safety technologies, aka smart guns, could greatly reduce the number of gun-related deaths and injuries.  These same technologies could also reduce unintended injuries associated with gun ownership when guns accidentally wind up in the wrong hands.

“That is why I am calling on the Department of Justice to update its research on gun safety technologies, which was originally released in 2013.  I firmly believe that these technologies will save lives and make our communities safer,” said Rush. 

In 2013, the Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice, at the direction of then-President Barack Obama, published a “Review of Gun Safety Technologies.”  This technology assessment and market survey of existing and emerging gun safety technologies was a part of the President Obama’s “Plan to Reduce Gun Violence,” which included 23 executive actions to reduce gun violence.

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