New York City

Jeffries, Stringer push for ‘smart guns’ for NYPD

De Blasio to ‘review proposal’

January 11, 2016 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
From right: U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, at podium, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, Rev. David Brawley, co-chair of Metro IAF and others. Photo by Mary Frost

U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer and the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) on Monday called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to use the city’s purchasing power to push gun manufacturers to create high-tech “smart guns” for the NYPD.

The press conference took place in the freezing cold on the steps of City Hall.

Jeffries pointed to the recent gang rape of an 18-year-old girl in Brownsville as just another in a sad series of events showing the need to fight gun violence.

“It’s Exhibit A of why we have to do more,” he said.

If a criminal grabs a cop’s smart gun, it will be useless, Stringer said, since smart guns use fingerprints, radio frequency identification or other means to ensure that only an authorized user can fire the weapon.

Other smart features include loaded chamber indicators so that users know when a weapon is loaded; magazine disconnect devices to prevent a gun from firing if the magazine has been taken out; microstamping, to trace bullets found at crime scenes to specific guns; and child-proof locks.

 “If an iPhone can be embedded with fingerprint activation, so can a firearm,” said Jeffries. “New York City is one of the largest purchasers of firearms in the nation, and we should use our leverage to push for more responsible gun industry practices.”

According to Stringer, New York City is second only to the Department of Defense when it comes to buying guns. The NYPD purchases guns for 34,000 police officers, more than any other police department in the country, Stringer said.

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The NYPD does not directly buy handguns for its officers, he said. Instead, it publishes a list of approved firearms and allows officers to select the gun that is best for them, with the officer being reimbursed for the cost of the weapon by the department. Jeffries and Stringer urged the city to add a smart gun to the list.

Smart guns exist today, but gun manufacturers have passed on marketing such models in the U.S. out of fear of inciting the National Rifle Association (NRA), Stringer said. Dozens of other U.S. cities and states have expressed n interest in the technology, however.

The Rev. David Brawley, pastor of St. Paul Community Baptist Church in Brooklyn and co-chair of Metro IAF, called on gun manufacturer Glock to get moving on smart gun technology and also to cut ties with dubious dealers.

 “New York City should ask Glock and other manufacturers to immediately sever ties with the small percentage of dealers like Arrowhead Guns in Georgia — the stores that sell most of the crime guns that are trafficked into New York and cities across the country,” he said.

Rev. Brawley said that Mayor Bill de Blasio “has not been responsive” to the group’s proposal.

Following the press conference, however, Monica Klein, a spokesperson for Mayor de Blasio, told the Brooklyn Eagle, “Reducing gun violence and strengthening NYPD equipment are top priorities for this administration. We are always looking into ways to encourage the use and development of new technology, and will review this proposal.”

Stringer said that the city could gain even more leverage with gun manufactures by joining with other police departments and “forcing the market.”

“We’re saying to the NRA, ‘We’re bigger than you, we’re stronger than you.’”

Last week, President Obama directed federal agencies to study smart gun technologies for use by the military and other personnel.

The NRA has called smart guns “technologically unviable.”

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