Vice President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday that the Obama administration has adopted a two-pronged approach to gun control.
The first prong is already a hot topic in the news. Backed by politicians like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, gun control advocates hope to push through new legislation that would require background checks for all sales. Supporters of the bill fear that it doesn’t have enough steam to power through the Senate or the House of Representatives.
If that option fails, the Obama administration can fall back on plan B. Biden Sshared with the press that the Obama administration could move forward on smart-gun technology that would limit who can fire a weapon. Action movie fans got a taste of this technology in Skyfall, where James Bond used a customized Walther PPK that only he could fire.
Somewhat surprisingly, this is a gun control option that gun rights advocates could get behind. Larry Keane, the president National Sports Shooting Foundation, explained that the organization does not oppose smart-gun technology. He does, however, argue that the technology poses major engineering challenges for manufacturers. For example, what would happen when the technology’s battery fails?
It’s not the technology that concerns Keane, but the logistics. "You can't put a product on the market that's unreliable, especially when it's a firearm,” Keane argued.
Additionally, this type of technology may not be as foolproof as gun control advocates hope. People can modify their cars and computers, so it’s reasonable to assume that people could similarly disable or remove the technology that restricts a smart-gun, thereby transforming it into an old-fashioned firearm. Smart-guns may limit the number of accidental shootings and spur-of-the-moment crimes, but motivated criminals probably won’t be deterred by smart-gun technology.
Perhaps that’s why the Obama administration is focusing on background checks. Biden stressed that background checks remain a “chief priority” despite harsh opposition from gun rights proponents. For now, it appears that double-o agents will be the only ones running around with thumbprint-protected high-tech super weapons.