Department of Justice Seal



FRIDAY, MAY 12, 2000

(202) 202-307-0703


TDD (202) 514-1888



WASHINGTON, D.C.-- The Justice Department today announced that it will make grants to two gun manufacturers - Smith & Wesson and FN Manufacturing, Inc. - to research and develop "smart gun" technologies. Smart guns, which are firearms that can distinguish an authorized user from someone who is not supposed to fire the weapon, show tremendous promise in reducing the cost to human life when weapons are taken intentionally or accidentally from their proper owner.

"We are pleased to announce that these two leaders in the gun industry, FN Manufacturing, Inc. and Smith & Wesson, are working with us to expand what we know about smart gun technologies," said President Clinton. "With this additional investment into smart gun research and development, we will be closer to having more tools to prevent unauthorized people from firing guns. This will make our streets and communities safer."

Smart gun research and development is being supported by the Justice Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ), in response to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) data that shows that over the past 10 years, 57 police officers were slain with their own weapons. An additional 113 weapons were stolen from law enforcement officers during this same time period. "Developing smart gun technologies is crucial in preventing needless law enforcement deaths," said Attorney General Janet Reno. "We have a responsibility to do whatever we can to protect the men and women who put their lives on the line each day to protect our communities. I am pleased that we have the opportunity to further research these promising approaches so that once these technologies are fully developed, law enforcement officers' weapons will be more safely and reliably secured."

NIJ, with assistance from scientists at the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has evaluated a variety of technologies that may be adaptable in creating effective "smart guns", such as radio frequency, voice recognition, biometrics, and touch memory technologies. The Smith & Wesson project will support feasibility and functionality tests of an electronic fire handgun with a code-based combination lock and a separate fingerprint module that communicates with an electric fire handgun, as well as an analysis of existing Smith & Wesson technologies and design of the next generation prototype. FN Manufacturing, Inc. will use its NIJ grant award to further the research, development, and testing of its smart gun prototype, which uses embedded microelectronics to disable the firearm from use by an unauthorized user.

To augment and expand smart gun research and development, the Administration has requested $10 million in FY 2001 to expand development, testing, and replication of smart gun technologies. With these funds, NIJ plans to:

  • provide continuation funding to Smith & Wesson and FN Manufacturing;

  • develop standards for smart gun technology use;

  • undertake vulnerability studies and evaluation of technologies that could be adapted for use in a smart gun;

  • develop a standard for gun safety locks to enhance the secure storage of existing weapons; and

  • issue a solicitation to other gun manufacturers for additional smart gun research and development.

NIJ, the Justice Department's research and evaluation arm, supports research, evaluation, and demonstration programs, the development of technology, and both national and

international information dissemination. For additional information about NIJ and its programs visit its site on the World Wide Web at:

Information about other Office of Justice Programs (OJP) bureaus and program offices is available at Media should contact OJP's Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202/307-0703.