More Than Half of Handgun Buyers Would Consider ‘Smart’ Guns: Study

Many Americans would consider “smart” or childproof weapons if they were to buy a new gun, a new study by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health finds.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents to the Web-based survey of nearly 4,000 people indicated interest in the tech-infused guns, which use fingerprint detection or wireless signals to limit use of the weapon to its owner.

“By simply using technology that already exists and bringing it to the marketplace … Countless lives that would otherwise have been lost to suicide, accidental shootings and guns getting into the wrong hands could be saved,” said study co-author Stephen Teret in a news release. “Policymakers and manufacturers should re-examine the potential for smart guns to not only produce a profit, but also to lessen the toll of gun deaths in the United States.”

Non-owners of guns and people identifying as “liberal” were most likely to consider buying smart guns, while owners of multiple guns were least likely.

The theoretical lack of a market for smart guns has been used as an argument against the devices; a 2013 study funded by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a gun makers trade association, showed only 14 percent of people would consider smart guns. This new research sharply contradicts that notion.

President Barack Obama recently announced, during an emotional speech about gun violence, that his administration would pursue smart gun technology.

“If we can set it up so you can’t unlock your phone unless you’ve got the right fingerprint,” he said, “why can’t we do the same thing for our guns?”

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