A spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association said Friday that President Barack Obama has an “obsession with gun control (that) knows no boundaries” after he announced new efforts to expedite the development of “smart gun” technology.
“President Obama’s obsession with gun control knows no boundaries,” said Jennifer Baker, director of Public Affairs for the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, in a statement to the press. “At a time when we are actively fighting terrorists at home and abroad, this administration would rather focus the military’s efforts on the president’s gun control agenda.”
Obama is pushing the agenda based on a 16-page report from the Departments of Justice, Defense and Homeland Security. But very little attention is being paid to some of the revelations about “smart gun” research so far, except in The Gun Mag, a publication owned by the Second Amendment Foundation.
That publication noted that Colt’s Manufacturing was awarded more than $500,000 in 1997 for a project that produced two prototypes in 2000, but “they were deemed to unreliable to undergo substantial test firings.”
Also in 2000, according to the report, Smith & Wesson was awarded about $3.67 million for a project “which explored several types of firearm authentication, including PIN codes, fingerprint sensors, and skin tissue spectroscopy.” However, the report revealed, “Although the company originally planned to deliver 50 prototypes for testing and evaluation, only two were ultimately delivered. The project ended in 2005.”
That same year, FN Manufacturing was awarded a grant to develop a “Secure Weapon System” to be unlocked by an RFID device worn as a ring on the user’s hand. “During testing,” the report said, “the prototypes fired a combined 1,500 rounds with only one mechanical incident, although evaluators noted that the weapon behaved erratically and that blunt force could override the authentication system. The grant funding ended in 2006 and FN Manufacturing did not pursue the project further.”
Critics suggest that the president, in his final months in office, is determined to build some kind of gun control “victory” into his legacy.
But the candid report casts doubt on how that might turn out.
“Gun owners—whether law enforcement officers, hunters, or homeowners seeking to protect their property—expect their firearms to work seamlessly, under all conditions, without concern for technical malfunction,” the report acknowledged. “To make ‘smart’ gun technology saleable to a wide range of consumers, manufacturers must ensure that these firearms operate properly in the high-stress situations when firearms are needed most.”