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Gun-control advocates have hailed the idea of “smart guns”–those that can be disabled by some electronic means–as the cure to all of the country’s perceived gun problems, ever since the technology was rumored to be a possibility. Now, federal legislation has been introduced that would require smart gun technology to be installed on all new handguns. The Handgun Trigger Safety Act also requires gun dealers to begin retrofitting all used guns with smart gun technology “within the next 10 years,” according to this story on

The bill was introduced Tuesday by Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)with the stated purpose of blocking criminals and children from using guns that don’t belong to them, according to The bill’s introduction was timed to coordinate with National Gun Violence Awareness Day.

“The epidemic of gun violence in America is not preordained, it is preventable,” Markey said. “In the 21st century, we should use research and advances in technology to our advantage and save lives from tragic and needless gun violence.”

The legislation includes provisions for research grants to improve smart gun tech and for gun dealers to be reimbursed for retrofitting used guns.

Smart gun-technology, as it currently exists, works in one of three ways: a biometric reader embedded in the gun recognizes the owner’s finger or palm print and activates the gun; the owner punches a code into a lock on the gun, like the lock screen on a smart phone, which makes the gun operable; or a paired watch or bracelet is worn by the owner that unlocks the gun when it’s in a pre-set proximity.

The biometric readers and watch/bracelet pairing systems are the most predominant, but reliability issues exist with both.