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Obama backs smart gun technology in new policy blueprint

The Defense and Justice Departments both move to give weapons advanced safety tech.

On Friday, the Obama Administration unfurled its progress report on the gun control policy the president first presented in January. A key pillar of that report is “smart gun” tech.

For the first time, the Administration is presenting guidelines for Federal, state and local law enforcement to define smart guns — an umbrella term for tech enabling only authorized people to shoot weapons — to curb violence. The White House said the Department of Defense will begin testing this tech and implement a cash prize for manufacturers. Additionally, the Federal government and Department of Justice will move to catalyze the production of guns with this safety tech. You can read the full White House report here.

“There is no problem that America’s innovators cannot solve,” Valerie Jarrett, a senior Obama adviser, wrote introducing the report, “and we are confident that by focusing the private sector’s attention on smart gun technology, we will unlock life-saving innovations.”

Smart gun tech has some prominent Silicon Valley backers, including well-known angel investor Ron Conway, founder of the Smart Tech Challenges Foundation. He praised the Administration report in an email.

“Smart guns that meet the highest standards — of both safety and operability — can help prevent unintentional shootings and realize safer communities,” Conway wrote. “We have seen first hand the promise of these technologies from our Challenge innovators who have much to contribute to the future of smart guns.”

The plan also has prominent detractors, too. Notably, and unsurprisingly, the National Rifle Association, which responded to the Obama Administration announcement thusly:

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