President Barack Obama is flexing his executive muscle, ordering the federal government to study how smart gun technology could stem gun violence.
In a memorandum Monday, the president told the departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security to look into smart gun technology, such as fingerprint and radio-frequency identification. The goal is to track lost and stolen guns and prevent accidental gunshots.
The agencies have 90 days to compile recommendations.
The Obama memo comes about a month after a couple influenced by radical Islamic beliefs fatally shot 14 people in San Bernardino, California, raising concerns about public safety. Gun sales rose sharply after the December 2 shooting, which followed shortly after two other mass shootings, amid fear of extremists, the Obama administration said in a briefing over the weekend.
US President Barack Obama has issued a memorandum directing the departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security to look into ways where smart gun technology could prevent gun violence.
Obama plans to address gun violence at a nationally televised town hall meeting at George Mason University on Thursday night. On Monday, the president consulted with Attorney General Loretta Lynch on which executive orders he could use for more gun restrictions.
“Developing and promoting technology that would help prevent these tragedies is an urgent priority,” Obama said in his memo.
Obama’s push for smart technology will likely run into resistance from gun rights groups, which have long said smart technology is a way for the federal government could track firearms.
That, they say, could ultimately lead to a ban on weapons.
“There is nothing in this set of proposals that would improve public safety,” National Rifle Association spokeswoman Jennifer Baker told USA Today. “President Obama is distracting the American people from his inability to keep us safe.”
The NRA didn’t immediately respond to an email and phone call seeking comment.
The president cited a 2013 Department of Justice report that reviewed the most effective use of gun safety technologies, including requiring a scan of the owner’s fingerprint before a gun could discharge.
“In its report, the (DOJ) made clear that technological advancement in this area could help reduce accidental deaths and the use of stolen guns in criminal activities,” he said.
Obama said the recommendations are within his legal authority, consistent with the Second Amendment and supported “by the overwhelming majority of the American people, including gun owners, support and believe.”