DOJ Releases Smart Gun Guidelines

Back in June, the National Institute of Justice – the research, development and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice – drafted a list of guidelines for smart gun manufacturers.


Smart guns, also called “personalized” or “authorized-user recognition” guns, include safety features – often in the form of sensor technology – that only allow authorized users to fire it.

This past week, an official document was released by the DOJ: “Baseline Specifications for Law Enforcement Service Pistols with Security Technology.”

These guidelines came out a series of executive actions put forth by the Obama Administration to “reduce gun violence and make our commented safer.” They hoped to achieve four main goals including “[shaping] the future of gun safety technology.”

“The President has directed the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security to conduct or sponsor research into gun safety technology.

The President has also directed the departments to review the availability of smart gun technology on a regular basis, and to explore potential ways to further its use and development to more broadly improve gun safety.”

On January 4th, Obama issued a memorandum ordering the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of Homeland Security to:

“…Conduct or sponsor research into gun safety technology that would reduce the frequency of accidental discharge or unauthorized use of firearms, and improve the tracing of lost or stolen guns….review the availability of the technology…and explore potential ways to further its use and development to more broadly improve gun safety.”


Unfortunately for Obama, the departments didn’t seem to come up with much.

According to the document, “the security device shall not increase the time required by the operator to grasp, draw from a holster, and fire the pistol as a pistol of the same design that is not equipped with the security device.” In other words, the gun must operate the same way as a firearm without security technology.

The document also states that the “the security device shall not inhibit the operator from firing in either hand, one-handed or two-handed, with and without gloves, in any orientation.” As the NRA pointed out, this appears to rule out technology like grip recognition, fingerprints and inputting codes.

Lastly, the document says that “If the security device malfunctions, it shall default to a state to allow the pistol to fire,” which seems to defeat the purpose of the technology all together.

The NRA put it best: “A lot of busy people with important duties thus spent their valuable time running around in circles, so President Obama could pretend he was being proactive on ‘gun safety.’”

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