Mayor Asks Gun Executive to Give ‘Smart Guns’ a Chance
By Jacob Gershman: Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter on Wednesday asked the general counsel of Connecticut-based shotgun manufacturer Mossberg & Sons, Joe Bartozzi, why the company doesn’t develop high-tech “smart guns” that can be fired only by their owners. “Why don’t you at least try? Put one on the market and see what happens,” Mr. Nutter said at an academic forum in New York City, according to the Crime Report, a criminal justice news site, which covered the event. Mr. Bartozzi said about a decade ago the company had developed a gun that could be fired only when the person holding it is wearing a ring equipped with a radio-frequency identification chip. Focus groups, though, panned it, he told the mayor. Police officers and civilian consumers who tried it out found it to be too unreliable, he said. Mossberg then sold the part of the company that developed it.
“We’re not opposed to the technology,” Mr. Bartozzi told Law Blog on Thursday. “We hold a number of patents on the technology. We tried, and it didn’t seem to be attractive to people.”
Mr. Nutter had argued that smart guns could be something that both gun-control advocates and the gun industry could get behind, the Crime Report said, amid clashes over gun laws, like the one Maryland enacted Thursday.
At his blog, “Sentencing Law & Policy,” criminal law professor Douglas Berman of Ohio State University suggests a “Project X” to speed up “smart gun” development. He writes:
More broadly, I think the development of a safer ‘smart gun’ could and should be spurred by some kind of ‘Project X’ private funding scheme through a university or think tank (see example here)… I suspect just a few millions dollars as a “smart gun” prize (only a fraction of what is being poured into gun policy lobby shops and PACs) could go a very long way to moving forward and ultimately saving innocent lives.