Justice begins gun-safety review

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched a review of gun-safety technology that is intended to “challenge the private sector.”

President Obama last month announced a series of 23 executive actions to address gun violence. One of the steps was directing Attorney General Eric Holder “to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative [ones],” according to a memo.

The National Institute of Justice, in partnership with the DOJ, is gathering information about existing gun safety laws and products. The agencies will explore “emerging gun safety technologies that would be of interest to the law enforcement and criminal justice communities and others with an interest in gun safety,” according to a document that will be published in Wednesday’s Federal Register.

Officials said they will seek input about gun-safety products from law enforcement, mechanical engineers, firearms experts, gun-safety experts and the gun manufacturing industry, among others.

Comments and other information regarding gun safety technology can be submitted on the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology's website. Comments can also be emailed to gunsafetytechnology@usdoj.gov by April 3.

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Obama has launched an administration-wide effort to address gun violence in response to last year’s school shooting in Newtown, Conn. In addition to the executive actions, he is pushing Congress to pass new restrictions on firearms, including a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazine clips.

Gun-rights advocates are pushing back on the president’s proposals. National Rifle Association President Wayne LaPierre last week called Obama’s gun-control push a “charade” aimed at gutting the Second Amendment.

Separately from the gun-safety study, DOJ is moving to strengthen the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and expand law enforcement’s access to the database.

The president’s executive actions on guns also extend to the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

One of Obama’s directives was to ensure coverage of mental-health treatment in Medicaid and under the healthcare reform law. He also ordered increased training of school staff to help them recognize signs of mental illness.

The CDC, meanwhile, was directed to study the causes of gun violence. The president urged Congress to approve $10 million for the agency to examine whether there are links between shooting sprees and violent entertainment.