Legislation would ensure that only authorized users can operate handguns

Washington (October 4, 2017) – Today, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) reintroduced legislation to address the gun violence that is gripping communities across the country. The bill, the Handgun Trigger Safety Act, would improve gun safety by ensuring that only authorized users would be able to operate handguns utilizing personalization (or “smart gun”) technology. There are roughly 33,000 deaths and 79,000 injuries from gun violence each year in the United States. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives, and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is a co-sponsor of the Senate legislation. In 2016, the Obama administration announced a new effort to study and expand the deployment of smart gun technology, and the Department of Justice released a report to improve and deploy the technology.
“To anyone who says that taking action now to address gun safety is ‘too soon’, it’s already too late for at least 59 people in Las Vegas,” said Senator Markey. “We need to pass commonsense gun legislation that keeps these weapons out of the hands of people who should not have them. The Handgun Trigger Safety Act utilizes technology to ensure that only authorized users can operate a gun. We have technology that requires a fingerprint to operate an iPhone; we should do the same for a handgun. Smart gun technology is smart gun safety policy.”
The Handgun Trigger Safety Act would support the use of personalization (or smart gun) technology that allows the purchaser of a gun to designate authorized user(s) who can operate the gun and would make the gun inoperable for all others. Personalized handguns are already sold overseas and have been available in the United States since 2011.
Specifically, the Handgun Trigger Safety Act would:

  • Authorize grants to develop and improve “personalized” handgun technology to increase efficacy and decrease costs;
  • Mandate that, within five years of enactment, all newly manufactured handguns must be personalized, ensuring that they can only be operated by authorized users;
  • Mandate that, within ten years of enactment, anyone selling a handgun must retrofit it with personalization technology before that sale can be completed; and
  • Provide reimbursement to manufacturers for the costs of retrofitting handguns through the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund.

A copy of the Handgun Trigger Safety Act can be found HERE.