May 15, 2013
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WASHINGTON, DC – In the most recent James Bond film, Bond escapes death when his handgun, which is equipped with technology that recognizes him as its owner, becomes inoperable when it gets into the wrong hands. This technology, however, isn’t just for the movies – it’s a reality. Earlier today, Congressman John Tierney, joined by local and national advocates, discussed the Personalized Handgun Safety Act of 2013, which would mandate that all newly manufactured handguns are “personalized” within two years, presenting a modern day solution to the persistent problem of gun violence.
“Last month, a 6-year old in New Jersey accidentally shot and killed a 4-year old child,” Congressman Tierney said. “Accidents like this are not as rare as we want to believe, and they are preventable. Whether a gun owner or not, a NRA member or not, we should be able to agree on gun safety measures that will make our families and communities safer. This technology needs to be put into action.”
“The Children’s Defense Fund Action Council supports Congressman Tierney’s Personalized Handgun Safety Act, which will ensure the safer use of guns and protect children. A child or teen dies or is injured by a gun every 30 minutes; a child or teen is killed by a gun every three hours and 15 minutes. The personalization technology required by Congressman Tierney’s bill will help to prevent these tragedies. CDF urges members of Congress to act to support this and all other common sense gun safety measures to protect children, not guns including universal background checks and a ban on assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines,” said Marian Wright Edelman, President, Children’s Defense Fund.
“Gun violence has become a public health crisis in America. This epidemic is a disease and its spread can only be stopped through a variety of innovative treatments, including personalization technology. As a country, we must do everything in our power to prevent the senseless deaths that occur daily due to gun violence. Our organization is grateful to Congressman Tierney for working on behalf of American mothers and families to find a solution,” said Shannon Watts, Founder, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
“With over 30,000 Americans killed by guns each year and 87 killed every day, think of all the lives and never ending grief that could have been saved in the last 10 years if this common sense and readily available technology was brought to market in the United States. We cannot allow the gun lobby to continue to stand in the way of saving lives and common sense legislation like this, proposals that simply make guns safer. Along with Congressman Tierney, I will continue to press for action on this and other legislation that will make our families and communities safer,” said John Rosenthal, Founder, Stop Handgun Violence.
“We should be using all the tools available to help reduce gun violence,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), a strong advocate for gun safety and an original cosponsor of the Personalized Handgun Safety Act of 2013. “Technology now exists to ensure a gun is used only by the actual authorized user of a weapon– and that will be a game-changer in the cause of keeping guns out of the hands of children and criminals. That’s why I’m proud to co-sponsor the Personalized Handgun Safety Act being introduced by my friend John Tierney.”
In addition to the 6-year old in New Jersey, in the last month alone, a 3-year old boy from Ohio accidentally shot himself after finding his father’s loaded gun in a bedroom; and a sheriff’s wife from Tennessee was killed by her 4-year old nephew. These cases – and the many more like them that occur every day – are tragic and entirely preventable with technology that currently exists to personalize handguns.
Tierney’s legislation, which will be introduced today, would mandate that all newly manufactured handguns, within two years of enactment, be personalized so they could only be operated by authorized users. It also would provide for grants to continue to develop and improve handgun personalization technology to simultaneously increase efficacy and decrease cost. This technology would protect law enforcement officers from having their guns used against them, would protect gun owners whose guns are stolen from being used in a crime, and would protect children and families from accidental shootings.