Bill Seeks to Use Tax Dollars to Fund 'Smart Gun' Innovation

United States Capitol

While federal spending isn’t exactly in our purview here at Bearing Arms, I’m not a big fan of the government spending my tax dollars for private innovation. I’m a free market kind of guy. If the market wants something, someone will find a way to pay for development.


Smart guns, for example, are one of those things that tons of people want to see developed, but that there’s not much of a customer base for them. Most gun folks just aren’t that interested in the technology.

But it seems there’s a bill that wants to use our tax dollars to fund these “innovations.”

Today, Representatives Mark DeSaulnier (CA-10), Zoe Lofgren (CA-18), and Don Beyer (VA-08) announced the introduction of the Advancing Gun Safety Technology Act (H.R. 6697), a bill that would help bring life-saving gun safety technology to the market. Specifically, the bill would create a $10 million pilot program at the Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice to support private-sector commercialization of gun safety technology. This legislation is supported by Brady, Everytown, and Giffords.

Gun safety technology—like smart guns, user-authorized handguns, childproof guns, personalized guns, and safes and locking devices that include personalized technology—are designed to reduce the likelihood of an accidental or unauthorized use of a gun. According to the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, each year nearly 500 people die from unintentional firearm injuries, and unintentional firearm injuries account for 37% of nonfatal firearm injuries.

“With gun violence taking such a devastating toll on our communities, and as the son of someone who took his life by gun suicide, I strongly believe that we need to use every tool in the toolbox to address the gun violence epidemic,” said Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (CA-10). “Gun safety technology will help reduce accidental shootings and gun suicides while protecting responsible gun owners, and this bill will help make that technology available to more people. I am grateful to join with my colleagues in introducing this important legislation.”


This isn’t important legislation and there’s little reason to believe this will have an appreciable impact on gun violence.

Especially since, as I noted, there’s not a lot of customers out there interested in most of these devices. Throwing a whopping $10 million of taxpayer money into development isn’t going to change that.

Nor is it really meant to.

You see, the reason all these gun control groups like this kind of intervention into the free market is that they want to see these kinds of devices be mandated. The liked the now-dead New Jersey law that would have mandated only these kind of devices be sold in the state once they’re viable and they like the current law that will mandate their inclusion in gun stores.

Yet the market isn’t interested. Your average gun buyer doesn’t trust this kind of technology, particularly on firearms themselves–biometric safes already exist, but they’re not trustworthy either–so there’s not really any reason for gun manufactures to bother wasting money on things no one wants to buy.

Tech companies seem to want to dip their toes into the market, but they don’t actually understand the market. They figure those who are interested in the technology existing are potential customers, but that’s not necessarily the case.


And with Biofire trying to come to market, it doesn’t sound like they need taxpayer dollars either.

In other words, this bill needs to go nowhere.

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