Can We Make Guns Safer?

Email a Friend
From and

Whatever your stance on guns, the figures show that firearms take the lives of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children in the U.S. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 360,589 deaths by firearms since 1999.

But this week an investigative report published by our partner The New York Times suggests that the number of unintentional gun-related deaths among children is under counted. Records from five states show that the real number of accidental gun deaths may be up to twice what is officially reported.

Could we prevent accidental shootings if we had the technology to somehow make guns ”child-proof?"

The technology exists, but attempts to make it commercially available have so far been stymied by gun manufacturers and pro-gun lobbyists, among others.

Almost a decade ago Michael Recce, an associate professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, developed a technology that would make it almost impossible for a gun to be discharged by anyone but its owner. But despite the clear benefits of such a technology, Recce and his team haven’t had success convincing gun manufacturers to work with them.

Jim Schaff, vice president of marketing for Yardarm Technologies, is a little more optimistic. The company is developing a “wireless trigger safety” application for firearms, which links a gun’s geospatial position to the cell phone of its owner. The application can then alert the owner if the gun is moved, and gives them the option to disable the gun remotely.

Both men join The Takeaway to discuss how their technologies could have a significant impact on gun-related deaths.