National group calls for high-tech gun safety products

click to enlarge Man choosing new handgun in gun shop. - Shutterstock
Man choosing new handgun in gun shop.

Lansing's mayor and police chief are part of a national effort to push the gun industry to produce safer guns.

The Gun Safety Consortium has announced requests for proposals for technology products - from fast-access gun locks and safes to GPS tracing systems - to lower the number of gun deaths in the United States.

Lansing Police Chief Darryl Green, a member of the group, said many gun owners don't consistently use gun locks or safes. Even law-enforcement officers don't always secure their firearms, which he said has led to gun deaths.

"There are tragic stories within many of our police departments of a child finding their parent's duty service weapon and pulling the trigger," he said. "So, what's needed on the market is a variety of products that combine security with quick access by the gun owner."

Experts have said economic pressures from the pandemic left U.S. cities, including Detroit and Flint, with an uptick in gun deaths during 2020. Flint saw 61 gun-related killings last year, up from 46 in 2019, according to the city's police department.

In 2019, Michigan had 1,220 gun deaths, and 61% were suicides, according to the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence. Green said he thinks compared with other industries, gun-safety technology is behind the times, making the consortium's request even more urgent.

"The consortium is very interested in 'smart' guns.' We're actually in discussions with leading developers concerning smart guns," he said. "But the reality is, there's no such product on the market in 2021."

The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence gives Michigan a "C" rating for its gun-safety laws. It recommends the state require universal background checks for long guns, along with child-access prevention laws.

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