In early June 2015, lawmakers proposed a law that would mandate smart gun technology within the next decade. The proposed regulations are part of the Handgun Trigger Safety Act.

‘Smart gun’ is a term used to describe a firearm equipped with electronics that restrict use of the firearm. These options are currently being developed for both law enforcement and civilian use. One ‘smart’ feature includes fingerprint or RFID technology, which would authorize specific individuals whose fingerprints match or who are in possession of a matching RFID chip to use the firearm; otherwise the gun is inoperable. Password or code input options are also in development. At the following link, our gun trust attorneys provide an overview of smart guns and a federal report that details the various types and availability of smart gun technology.

The Handgun Trigger Safety Act includes several provisions that would affect the basic operations of gun manufacturers across the United States:

  • Gun manufacturers would no longer be permitted to create or sell handguns that are not equipped with smart gun technology within 5 years of the Act’s enactment.
  • Individuals or parties attempting to sell (or more comprehensively, “distribute” as per the specific terms in the Act) a handgun must retrofit the firearm with smart technology within 10 years of the Act’s enactment.
  • Imposes the same restrictions above on firearms imported into the United States.
  • As the text currently stands, exemptions would be applied to antique firearms and military firearms.

Smart gun manufacturing is recognized as a lucrative industry in a growing number of jurisdictions. Tennessee, for example, enacted an additional sales and use tax exemption in 2014 for acquisition of industrial machinery used to design and create smart guns. Not long before the exemption was announced, Beretta started building a $45 million gun manufacturing plant in Tennessee.

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