“We have to make them theft-proof, child-proof, and as accident-proof as possible. In an age of technological innovation, this is not an unsolvable problem,” said Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain.
Some Chicago-area officials have joined a multi-state effort to seek out ideas for gun-safety products.
The Gun Safety Consortium, a group of elected officials, religious leaders, and law enforcement officers from across the country, called Tuesday on gun vendors and other innovators to submit proposals for technologies and features that can make guns safer.
“We have to make them theft-proof, child-proof, and as accident-proof as possible. In an age of technological innovation, this is not an unsolvable problem,” Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain said during an online news conference.
Proposals received by June 1 will be screened by a panel of law enforcement officials from the consortium. They will identify those with the most promise and purchase limited quantities for hands-on evaluations by police officers.
Some gun owners won’t use safety features because they fear won’t be able to fire their weapon quickly when they need to defend themselves, explained Daryl Green, chief of police from Lansing, Michigan. That’s why products will be evaluated for usability and mobility that ensure security while also granting owners quick access.
“Whether you’re a global gun manufacturer, or a startup in a garage or basement, we want you to bring us what you’ve got. If you’ve got a product that can help gun owners secure their firearms, we want to know about it. We want the opportunity to fully evaluate it, and we may want the opportunity to purchase it,” Green said.
When the evaluation ends in early fall, the group will share findings with all participating cities, identify which products fill a need for both police officers and civilians. The process will then likely be repeated.
“Throughout all of this, the consortium will continue to build more buying power. We’ve got some of our key recruiters from the consortium here today,” said DiAne Boese, mentioning Park Ridge Police Chief Frank Kaminski by name.
Boese is with Do Not Stand Idly By, a campaign organized by the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation aimed at ending gun violence.
“We’ll be asking cities, who are large-scale purchasers that haven’t joined yet, to commit, Boese said. “Cities like Chicago and New York.”
Other local participants in the consortium are Deerfield, Highland Park, Oak Park, the Hazel Crest Police Department and the Cook County and Lake County sheriffs’ offices.