If the latest iPhones are embedded with fingerprint technology limiting access to its owners only, why can't guns be imprinted the same way?
This was one of the several questions posed by Congressman Hakeem Jeffries to the City at a press conference on Monday, one week after President Obama used his executive power to take action against gun violence.
Jeffries was joined at the press conference at City Hall by NYC Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) and other anti-gun violence protestors, calling on the mayor to implement fingerprinting and other smart gun technology with the firearms it purchases for law enforcement.
"We are in the midst of a gun violence epidemic that requires all hands on deck at every level of government," said Jeffries. "Smart gun technology is one of the most effective tools we have against the proliferation of illegal guns in New York City and across this nation."
Currently, the United States is five percent of the world's population, but accounts for fifty percent of the world's guns. Furthermore, city, state and federal governments purchase 40 percent of the guns sold in America. With the NYPD being by far the largest municipal law enforcement agency in the country, second only to the Department of Defense when it comes to arming its personnel, the city's gun purchasing power is monumental.
Yet, the NYPD does not directly procure service handguns for its officers; instead it publishes a list of approved firearms and allows officers to select the gun they feel is best for them. Jeffries said NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio should use the City's purchasing power to push gun manufacturers to add a smart gun to the list of approved firearms available to NYPD officers:
"If an iPhone can be embedded with fingerprint activation, so can a firearm," added Jeffries. "The gun manufacturers have been reluctant to adopt life-saving smart gun technology, so they will have to be compelled to make it happen."
If New York City were to take this step, it would become a national leader for smart gun technology in the country.
Some of the existing smart gun technologies include:
Personalized Firearms: guns that use finger or palm prints or radio frequency identification to ensure that only a gun's true owner/authorized user can fire the weapon;
Loaded Chamber Indicators: to ensure that users always know when a weapon is loaded;
Magazine Disconnect Devices: to prevent a gun from firing if the magazine has been taken out, even if a round remains in the chamber;
Microstamping: to trace bullets found at crime scenes to specific guns; and
Child-Proof Locks/Grips: to prevent accidental deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that between 1999-2010, over 8,300 gun deaths were unintentional, including nearly 1,800 children.
"We must address this scourge in the same way we would fight back against any other plague — by using the best technology available to reduce the risk of injury or death," said Comptroller Stringer.
"The truth is that this issue has nothing to do with ideology, political allegiance, or party affiliation. Guns are a deadly threat to all citizens, whether they are Democrats, Republicans, gun owners, anti-gun activists, children, retirees, mothers, or fathers. We all need to join together, and take real action — not next month, not next year, but now."