New Guidelines for Smart Guns Unveiled

NIJ Report - Smart GunsThe U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued its final version of its smart gun guidelines, releasing a final version of “baseline specifications” outlining a detailed description of the minimum technical requirements that law enforcement agencies expect from smart gun technology, reinforcing the recommendations it made in June of this year.

The baseline specifications were drafted by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) – DOJ’s research, development and evaluation agency – in partnership with a team of firearms experts at DOJ and Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The guidelines are completely voluntary, and, according to a post on the DOJ blog, are to “provide clear guidance to potential manufacturers about what government purchasers require in their firearms,” as well as “serve as a standard against which existing technology can be measured, making it possible to identify what research and development gaps remains.”

It appears the goal of the DOJ is to demonstrate to manufacturers as well as the public, that there is a demand for smart guns in hopes to spur further development of the technology in order to enhance safety.

But, interestingly enough, the guidelines focus more on what the smart gun “should not do.” For example, the guidelines proffer that the technology should not impair the operation, accuracy or function of the firearm nor increase the time needed to draw, fire, and re-holster the weapon. A key component continues to be that the technology must allow for the firearm to be disabled when an unauthorized person attempts to shoot it.

According to the NIJ, smart guns, by definition, are designed to “contain authorization systems that generally combine an authentication mechanism that actuates a blocking mechanism in a seamless process that is designed to take less time than handling and firing a conventional gun.”

You can read the entire report here.

— by Michael Wisdom, Senior Contributing Editor, Texas & U.S. Law Shield Blog