The Department of Defense (DOD) is set to work closely with Barack Obama’s administration to implement brand new gun control measures stemming from executive orders.
Congress is dead set against pushing through legislation on gun control, so the White House found a work-around through executive action, Military Times reports.
“The President and Vice President are committed to using every tool at the Administration’s disposal to reduce gun violence,” a White House fact sheet notes. “Some of the gaps in our country’s gun laws can only be fixed through legislation, which is why the President continues to call on Congress to pass the kind of commonsense gun safety reforms supported by a majority of the American people.”
The series of executive orders from the White House will put into place new methods of tracking firearm sales and will also introduce background checks for gun shows. Additional funds for the treatment of mental illness, an element often present in mass shootings, will also be implemented.
These proposals will not spring to life in a vacuum and require active implementation by the bureaucracy.
One of the orders specifically directs the DOD to “conduct or sponsor research into gun safety technology that would reduce the frequency of accidental discharge or unauthorized use of firearms.”
The order is not limited to research. Rather, Obama also wants the DOD to aggressively promote the use of this technology, which carries implications. The DOD, according to a 2013 study published by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, possesses approximately 2.7 million small arms weapons.
The federal government is the largest buyer of firearms in the country, meaning that internal policies are highly significant.
Within 90 days, the DOD has to prepare a report “outlining a research-and-development strategy designed to expedite the real-world deployment of such technology for use in practice.”
Past proposals for “smart gun” technology have included biometric readers to ensure that only an approved person can fire the gun, as well as radio-frequency identification technology. None of this technology is currently available commercially.
While gun safety might be a laudable goal, gun advocates have noted the potential for disaster. Part of the problem with “smart gun” safety technology is it makes self-defense more precarious because of extra steps needed to put the gun into play.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has argued smart technology would raise the price of firearms, thereby lowering availability. Additionally, the tech might include an option to disable guns remotely, according to the gun rights advocacy organization.
“The NRA doesn’t oppose the development of ‘smart’ guns, nor the ability of Americans to voluntarily acquire them,” the group said in a policy statement. “However, NRA opposes any law prohibiting Americans from acquiring or possessing firearms that don’t possess “smart” gun technology.”
The complete extent of the executive orders is not yet clear, though Republicans have vowed to fight them every step of the way.