Brooklyn Boro

BP Adams: Make guns ‘smart’ for better control

August 4, 2016 By James Harney Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams (at podium) spoke at the New York City Smart Gun Symposium on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Erica Sherman/Brooklyn BP’s Office

Proclaiming that “the universe around guns has changed,” and that guns “need to evolve into safer tools for personal protection and recreation,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams convened politicians, gun control advocates and even a gun manufacturer at Borough Hall on Tuesday for the New York City Smart Gun Symposium, which he touted as “the largest to-date gathering on advancing smart gun technology.”

A “smart” gun can only be fired by someone authorized to use it, using a specially crafted device that would activate it. On hand at the symposium was Ernst Mauch of the German gun-maker Armatix. The Atlantic magazine has reported that Armatix has developed a gun that cannot be fired unless the person pulling the trigger is wearing a watch equipped with a special digital chip.

“Smart guns can and should be a reality on the marketplace,” Adams said, “and I am committed to amplifying the broad cross section of voices from New York City and across America that reflects how we can support gun rights and advance gun safety at the same time.”

The event was co-sponsored by New Yorkers Against Gun Violence and the Seattle-based Washington CeaseFire, a leading gun safety advocacy group, and representatives of those organizations shared some sobering statistics.

Leah Barrett, executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, cited an audit by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that revealed that 3,174 guns were lost or stolen from gun shops in New York state in 2013, and 4,017 lost or stolen in 2014.

Ralph Fascitelli, president of the board of Washington CeaseFire, said that some 1,000 gun suicides each year are committed by third parties — people who use another person’s gun.

Attendees at the symposium also heard data from the Centers for Disease Control, revealing that about 33,600 Americans died from gunshots in 2014. And despite New York City’s tough gun ownership laws, 518 shootings — involving 621 victims — were recorded by the NYPD through July 24, 2016.

Municipalities “have a moral responsibility to act,” to curb gun violence since the federal government has not, and New Jersey State Senate Democratic Leader Loretta Weinberg asked for gun laws to be “moved into the 21st Century,” calling for legislation that would make “smart” guns the only weapons that could be bought once they become available on the market.

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Mauch concurred that “Smart guns can quickly become a billion-dollar niche of the $13 billion U.S. firearms market, but we need investors to appreciate the new improved landscape.” He said law enforcement “is a critical strategic market for smart guns.”

Adams, himself a former NYPD officer, says he owns a gun and stressed that “there is no call for Americans to abandon their arms. There is a call for Americans to abandon their right to do harm.”

Adams’ spokesman Stefan Ringel told the Brooklyn Eagle on Thursday that “in the next couple of weeks,” the borough president will officially launch a smart gun design competition for local college students, including those attending the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, New York City College of Technology and Pratt Institute.

The students will be tasked to design a “smart” weapon that will be tested by the NYPD. The winning design will earn the school that produced it a $1 million prize, funded from Adams’ budget.

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