Kevin Corke, the White House correspondent for Fox News, asked White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest about the Obama administration pushing for more smart-gun technology during a briefing on Friday. In his answer, Earnest ended up comparing smart-gun technology to the auto industry.
The White House has been pushing for more smart gun technology to be developed by the gun industry for law enforcement, the military and possibly the private sector.
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"The federal government, from my research, is still the largest purchaser of weapons in the United States. Is this an area where the President would like to get more smart guns in the hands of the federal government and make that part of his mandate to push forward this technology?" Corke asked.
"Well, Kevin, earlier today, the White House actually did announce the moving forward on executive action that the President announced actually early this year. And this is an executive action that would essentially allow law enforcement officials at the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security to begin developing guidelines and standards for smart gun technology," Earnest said.
"And the idea is, are there, a set of standards and guidelines that can be developed that would ensure that smart-gun technology could effectively be used by law enforcement officers. and the idea is that, yes, the federal government is a bulk purchaser of firearms and so, it does raise questions about that potential."
Corke then asked,"How concerned is the president about the notion from some gun owners that this is yet another intrusion by the federal government to try to get regular law-abiding gun purchasers and gun owners to purchase a technology that they're not interested in, or to somehow mandate in the future?"
"Well, I think this is consistent with the kind of wild-eyed conspiracy theories that we've heard on this issue for years now. I think what is true, is I couldn't think of another industry, off the top of my head, that isn't interested in looking at new technology that could make their product safer," Earnest said.
"I think the best example of this is in the auto industry. Auto manufacturers actually market the degree to which they use new technology to make their product safer, to make cars and trucks safer. And it is surprising to me that so many gun manufacturers shirk that responsibility," Earnest said.
"I think one of the other questions that can be answered by this effort to try to devise a set of standards and guidelines is whether or not a market would emerge for a gun manufacturer that deploys smart-gun technology. You know, is there a manufacturer that comes forward and says, "Hey, I can adopt those standards that the federal government has said would be consistent with the needs of law enforcement officials and maybe I can make some money by marketing to people who are interested in actually being safer.’ But, all that's an open question and a question that will ultimately be determined by the free market. But it's certainly is a question that's been answered in the affirmative by the free market in just about every other product imaginable."