SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

May 16, 2013

Tierney unveils bill calling for smart handguns

High-tech innovation would allow guns to be fired only by their owners

(Continued)

Tierney’s bill would authorize grants through the U.S. Department of Justice’s research and development arm, the National Institute of Justice, to develop smart-gun technology. It would direct the Consumer Product Safety Commission to come up with a smart-gun safety standard, and require that all handguns made in the United States within two years of the bill’s passage be personalized and comply with this new standard.

Those selling handguns three years after the bill passes would have to retrofit the handgun, with the money for this coming from the Asset Forfeiture Fund of the Department of Justice.

Supporters said the cost to retrofit a gun could be as low as $20.

The bill holds gun makers liable if they fail to make handguns that meet the government safety standard two years after the bill passes.

“They will be held responsible so we can protect our children and not our guns,” Tierney said.

Dave Franks, the owner of Dave Franks Motorcycles Sales on Bridge Street in Salem, said he stopped selling firearms seven months ago because there were too many regulations to follow.

“They papered me over,” he said.

When asked what he thinks about smart guns, Franks called it a “waste of time and money” and said people can already secure their firearms by locking them up.

“Irresponsible people is the problem,” Franks said. “It’s not the device.”

Michael Caggiano, a certified firearms instructor and owner of Salem Firearm Safety, which runs gun safety courses, had just the opposite view. “I think that if the technology worked and it was cost-effective, it would be fantastic,” he said.

While he agreed that guns not in use should be locked up, as required by state law, he also noted that those in cabinets can be broken into.

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