Federal court’s ruling on ‘smart guns’ expected to have broad impact on states

Federal court’s ruling on ‘smart guns’ expected to have broad impact on states

A federal appeals court in California is weighing a plea challenging the state’s controversial law that requires manufacturers to make firearms that will not fire a bullet left in the chamber if their magazines are separated and that will specify when a bullet is in the chamber.

The plea is being considered by the San Francisco-based Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers a broad swath of the West.

An upcoming ruling on whether a state can force gun manufacturers to include safety devices in their products is expected to have broad effect on whether and how swiftly President Obama’s calls for “smart guns” takes effect.

Adam Skaggs, a senior counsel for a gun-control group called Everytown for Gun Safety, said, “How the Ninth Circuit rules here will have a huge impact on the ability of any state to require any kind of smart gun technology.”

Last month, the federal government laid out a framework for law enforcement agencies to start buying smart guns. Federal authorities also pledged to grant money to state and local governments to purchase their smart guns. They also insist that the goal is not to make smart technology in guns mandatory but simply to encourage its development.

Supporters of smart gun technology say it will help trim down the number of accidental firearm deaths. Representatives of the industry say they have no objection to stricter safety measures as long as they are not forced upon them.