Obama Orders More Research On 'Smart Guns'

But the technology has plenty of opponents.

In a memorandum titled "Promoting Smart Gun Technology," President Barack Obama pledged on Monday to promote further research into measures that would help prevent injury and death by firearms that are "stolen, misused, or discharged accidentally."

"Developing and promoting technology that would help prevent these tragedies is an urgent priority," Obama wrote.

Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

So-called "smart guns" have existed for years, as the president himself acknowledges in the memo. These weapons could include features like a fingerprint scanner that confirms an owner's identity before it fires. But as The Huffington Post noted in September, the gun lobby has bent over backward to oppose smart guns, arguing that they might curtail freedoms and encourage unwanted collaboration between the government, gunmakers and retailers.

The National Rifle Association has promoted paranoid -- if not entirely off-base -- views about gun safety technology in the past, even though there's an argument to be made that such technology would boost gun sales.

Obama's new order will task the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security with presenting new research into gun safety technology. An outline "designed to expedite the real-world deployment of such technology" will be presented no later than 90 days from now.

The president wrote that advancing research to make the public safer -- while not undercutting the Second Amendment -- is imperative.

"The Federal Government has a unique opportunity to do so," he wrote, "as it is the single largest purchaser of firearms in the country."

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