Gun Violence Reduction
Leaders of the nationwide Do Not Stand Idly By (DNSIB) gun violence reduction campaign applauded President Obama’s efforts to make “smart guns” available for government and individual gun purchasers.
“Smart guns” employ user-recognition technology to prevent firing by unauthorized users. Making this technology widely available is projected to significantly reduce gun-related deaths in every major category: suicides, homicides and accidental shootings.
In January 2016, President Obama ordered reports on gun violence reduction from the Departments of Justice, Defense and Homeland Security. On April 29, the White House announced several specific actions based on those reports.
DNSIB leaders say the White House plan adopts several key DNSIB recommendations, three of which are particularly significant:
• The federal government will develop specifications to guide manufacturers in their efforts to meet the growing demand for smart guns and guide law enforcement agencies future procurement decisions. (Local, state and federal governments collectively represent 40% of America’s gun market.)
• The Department of Justice will provide resources for law enforcement agencies interested in purchasing smart guns. (DNSIB called for federal subsidies to offset the increased costs of smart guns, until the technology matures and costs come down.)
• The White House will convene public officials from across the U.S. to share strategies for reducing gun violence.
Other DNSIB recommendations, such as its proposal to leverage the negotiation of the Army’s $580 million handgun contract, were not included in the President’s plan. According to DNSIB co-chair Rabbi Joel Mosbacher, “There is [more] Obama should be doing, but…today’s report [is] welcome news. These actions are real. They’re well thought-through. [They] send a clear signal to gun manufacturers that the largest gun purchaser in the nation – the federal government – is in the market for smarter, safer guns.”
DNSIB plans to bring this message to Sturm, Ruger & Co, one of the largest gun manufacturers in the world. The Connecticut company is publicly traded and a major U.S. government contractor.
“Earlier this week, a three-year-old boy in Georgia shot and killed himself accidentally with his father’s gun,” said Cleveland DNSIB leader Donna Weinberger. “News reports say the gun was made by Sturm Ruger. Incidents like this would be prevented by smart-gun technology.”
North Carolina, New Jersey and Ohio DNSIB representatives attended Sturm Ruger’s annual shareholder meeting to ask executives to respond to growing interest in smart-gun technology.
According to Mosbacher, law enforcement purchasing agents from “85 cities, counties and states have asked Sturm Ruger for information on its plans and capabilities in the area of gun safety technologies…. [They] – and other gun CEOs – [must] objectively assess and respond to this emerging market, and not just bury their heads in the sand.”
DNSIB has been building support among law enforcement leaders across the country for smart guns. In 2014, the group held the nation’s first Smart Gun Show, where New York, Connecticut and New Jersey police departments could see and shoot smart gun models.
The Metro Industrial Areas Foundation (Metro IAF)–a network of religious congregations, unions, schools and civic groups encouraging public-sector leaders to use their firearms purchasing power to create change in the gun industry–launched DNSIB in 2013. Greater Cleveland Congregations is a leader in the DNSIB campaign.
This report is adapted from a GCC email announcement.