Washington, DC—Today, Congressman Jim Himes (CT-04) introduced the Start Advancing Firearms Enhancements and Technology (SAFETY) Act. The bill provides incentives for manufacturers and consumers designed to promote the development and purchase of smart-gun technology such as biometric or fingerprint locks and radio-frequency identification.

Each year, 115,000 Americans fall victim to gun violence – over 36,000 fatally. Many incidents involve stolen firearms: of the over 300 million guns in the U.S., there are 350,000 thefts reported each year. 80% are never recovered, and 10-15% are later used in crimes.

“Americans deal with the deadly results of gun violence every day in the form of mass shootings, crime-related violence, suicides and accidents,” said Congressman Himes. “Those of us who have made it our mission to end gun violence in this country know that there is no one solution that can prevent every gun death. We’re committed to a comprehensive, all-inclusive approach, which is what the SAFETY Act represents. If we can incentivize manufacturers to invest in smart gun technology and encourage consumers to buy those products, we can prevent more accidents, reduce violence committed with stolen guns, protect children and bring overall fatalities down. And, let’s be very clear, saving lives is the absolute top priority.”

The SAFETY Act will increase the research and development tax credit from 20% to 30% and apply it to 100% of smart gun technology research expenses; make more small businesses and startups eligible for this credit, including those already working in the field; and exempt smart gun components from the federal firearms tax, which would lower the price for consumers buying smart guns.

Many tragedies involve children gaining unauthorized access to a parent or guardian’s firearm.  Each year, 5,790 children in the United States receive emergency room treatment for gun-related injuries, with 21% being unintentional.

“Even if we just look at the way smart-gun technology could protect children, this bill would be well worth the effort,” said Himes. “Last month, two toddlers were killed by gun accidents on the same day in Virginia: a two-year-old was killed by his four-year-old brother, and another two-year-old was killed while playing with a gun. These are the most heartbreaking deaths because they are entirely preventable. If we do everything we can to spread smart gun technology, we have the power to end these tragedies and I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make that happen.”

For more information, contact Patrick Malone at Patrick.malone@mail.house.gov