Comments Sought on Smart Gun Specifications

The National Institute of Justice points out that the process is designed to spur the development of new technology and not to mandate that any particular individual or law enforcement agency adopt the technology once it is developed.

The National Institute of Justice on July 15 issued a draft version of the baseline specifications for "smart guns" that were developed by the U.S. Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and Defense, after President Obama in January 2016 directed them to come up with a research and development strategy to expedite deployment of advanced gun safety technology for law enforcement officers.

Comments are due by Sept. 13.

The agencies submitted a report in April 2016 to the president with a plan to expand and encourage the development of smart gun technology. The process they outlined included having the National Institute of Justice – the Justice Department's research, development, and evaluation agency – assemble a team of firearms experts at DOJ and DHS who would prepare a draft list of baseline specifications by July 15, 2016, and that step has now been completed.

NIJ is soliciting input on them from a wide spectrum of experts and is hosting a two-day meeting of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in mid-August to review and discuss the draft specifications. Based on this feedback, DOJ and DHS will revise the specifications as appropriate and finalize the document for publication.

The specifications will allow manufacturers to develop technology that meets the needs of law enforcement officers, particularly regarding reliability, durability, and accuracy. The process is designed to spur the development of new technology and not to mandate that any particular individual or law enforcement agency adopt the technology once it is developed.

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