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Poll: Americans don't want 'smart guns'

A recent move by U.S. lawmakers to mandate the sale of so-called "smart guns" is likely to get a cold reception from most Americans, a recent poll found.

According to a poll sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation and conducted late last year, more than 80 percent of respondents said they either would not, or were unlikely to purchase a smart gun. Only 4 percent said they'd buy a smart gun if one were available.

The poll results demonstrate deep unease among Americans over the reliability of smart guns — which feature embedded components that electronically determine if the user is authorized to fire the weapon.

This week, Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey announced plans to introduce a bill that would mandate all new handguns to be outfitted with "personalization" technology within two years, and that all previously-owned handguns must be retrofitted with the technology — at the manufacturer's expense.

"In the 21st century, we should use advances in technology to our own advantage and save lives, and the [bill] will help ensure that only authorized users can operate handguns," Markey said in a statement announcing the so-called "Handgun Trigger Safety Act."

"This is the type of gun safety legislation that everyone — regardless of political party or affiliation — should be able to support," he added.

The law would empower the Consumer Product Safety Commission to enact standards for gun safety, and state attorneys general could sue any manufacturers or retailers who don't meet them.

Despite Markey's move, the NSSF poll found that 70 percent of respondents didn't want the government to force manufacturers to make smart guns, with only 14 percent supporting the mandate.

The NSSF, which says it doesn't opposes the development of smart guns, nevertheless was encouraged by the strong opinions against the technology.

"We are not surprised, frankly, to find that the majority of those polled were skeptical of this technology," said NSSF general counsel Larry G. Keane. "We are encouraged by the fact that seven out of ten of those surveyed did not believe the government should mandate the 'one-size-fits-all' approach of so-called 'smart gun' technology."

The poll, which was conducted by an independent firm in October, surveyed 1,200 Americans and has a margin of error of 4 percent.

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