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President Clinton Promotes Smart Gun Technology to Protect Children from Gun Violence May 12, 2000

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The Briefing Room

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 12, 2000

President Clinton Promotes Smart Gun Technology
to Protect Children from Gun Violence
May 12, 2000

Today, President Clinton will announce that the Justice Department is awarding grants to two gun manufacturers for the research and development of "smart gun" technologies. The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) will provide Smith &Wesson and FN Manufacturing, Inc. a total of $600,000 to expand their research efforts into smart guns. Smart gun technologies, have the potential to limit a gun’s use to its proper adult owner - and could prevent accidental shooting deaths of children, deter gun theft, and stop criminals from seizing and using the guns of police officers against them.

LEADING AN EFFORT TO DEVELOP SMART GUN TECHNOLOGY. NIJ, the Justice Department’s research and evaluation arm, will award two grants of $300,000 each to Smith & Wesson and FN Manufacturing, Inc. to fund additional smart gun research and development. Smart gun technologies show tremendous promise in reducing gun violence that results when firearms are taken intentionally or accidentally from their proper owner. Such guns will have the ability to distinguish an authorized user from someone who is not otherwise permitted to fire the weapon. Today’s grants will support the design and testing of smart gun prototypes as well as additional research into specific technologies, including fingerprint identification and embedded microelectronics, to prevent firing by unauthorized users.

PROVIDING FOR THE FUTURE EXPANSION OF SMART GUN TECHNOLOGY. In this year’s budget, the President has proposed a $10 million initiative to greatly expand the research, development and replication of smart gun technologies. Under the plan, NIJ would use the funding increase for additional smart gun research and development, to develop standards for smart gun technology use, and to provide continued funding for ongoing research grants. NIJ has worked with the Sandia National Laboratories to study which existing technologies, such as radio frequency, voice recognition, biometrics, and touch memory technology, could be adaptable to a smart gun. NIJ has supported smart gun research over the past few years in response to FBI data showing that over the past decade, 113 weapons were stolen from police officers, and 57 officers were killed with their own guns.

PUSHING FOR COMMON SENSE GUN SAFETY MEASURES. The President today will once again stress the importance of common sense gun measures that can reduce gun violence by keeping guns out of the wrong hands. First, he will continue to urge Congress to complete its work on juvenile crime legislation and pass a final bill that includes the Senate-passed provisions to close the gun show loophole, require child safety locks for handguns, bar the importation of large capacity ammunition clips, and ban violent juveniles from owning guns for life. Nearly a year has lapsed since these lifesaving measures passed in the Senate last May. The President will also renew his call on Congress to create a state-based licensing system that would apply to all new handgun purchases. Under the President’s licensing plan, states would issue a license only to applicants who have passed a Brady background check and completed a certified safety course or exam.

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