Watertown Group Pushing for Smart Gun Lock Law in Massachusetts

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The Progressive Watertown group has started an online petition to urge Attorney General Maura Healey to create a law mandating that all new guns sold in Massachusetts have smart tech lock technology on them so only the owner can use them.

The group’s founder, Richard Marcus, said the effort grew out of a campaign issue of Warren Tolman’s when he was running for Attorney General. The desire to do something to make guns safer goes even farther back for Marcus.

“I’ve been working on this issue since the Newtown tragedy,” Marcus said. “I am tired of going to vigils and memorials for gun tragedies.”

Smart Tech locks attach to the trigger and require the owner’s finger print to unlock the gun. The gun is enabled within a second and the developer is working on cutting that time down, according to a story on CNN.com.

Such locks would prevent many deaths, Marcus said.

“Many police officers killed are shot by their own gun when they are overpowered,” Marcus said. “A majority of gun-related deaths come from accidental shootings and suicides. This can make a big difference.

“If you delay someone considering suicide by 5 to 10 minutes it may make the difference between a life saved and a life lost.”

Marcus hopes that if enough people get behind the law which would require a safety technology that would allow only the owner of the gun to use it, then it will encourage the Attorney General to use it as a mandate to make the law herself.

“She has already ordered new online gaming regulations through her mandate over public safety. This is exactly what we are asking her to do with Smart Tech Gun Locks,” Marcus said.

He does not want to put the issue on the ballot, because those have little history of success due in part to the gun lobby opposing them, Marcus said.

While the law would be a new gun law, Marcus said he is not trying to prevent people from getting guns.

“This would not stop anyone from owning a gun,” Marcus said.

The effort is the first statewide one spearheaded by Progressive Watertown, an organization that formed out of groups such as Watertown for Elizabeth Warren, Watertown for Ed Markey, and Watertown for Martha Coakley.

Rather than forming their own non-profit, Marcus said it made more sense to become part of Progressive Massachusetts.

“We ask people to become members of Progressive Massachusetts and if they do that, and they live in Watertown, they are automatically members of Progressive Watertown,” Marcus said.

The group meets once a month and has four public meetings each year where local legislators and others come to talk about issues of interest to members.

Progressive Watertown collecting signatures for the Smart Tech Gun Lock Law through a petition on Change.org, and others have collected signatures the old fashioned way.

“A senior citizen dropped off an envelope and had 177 signatures. She did it on her own,” Marcus said. “I went to a gun rally in Boston and got some there and I am getting them through word of mouth.”

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