Technological Options for User-Authorized HANDGUNS

A Technology-Readiness Assessment

Committee on User-Authorized Handguns

NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C.
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Technological Options for User-Authorised Handguns: A Technology-Readiness Assessment Technological Options for User-Authorized HANDGUNS A Technology-Readiness Assessment Committee on User-Authorized Handguns NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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Technological Options for User-Authorised Handguns: A Technology-Readiness Assessment THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: To arrive at the findings and recommendations of this report, the National Academy of Engineering has used a process that involves careful selection of a balanced and knowledgeable committee, assembly of relevant information, and peer review of the resultant report. Over time, this process has proven to produce authoritative and balanced results. This study was supported in part by Grant No. 2002-24405 between the National Academy of Sciences and The David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number 0-309-09699-5 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2005 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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Technological Options for User-Authorised Handguns: A Technology-Readiness Assessment THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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Technological Options for User-Authorised Handguns: A Technology-Readiness Assessment COMMITTEE ON USER-AUTHORIZED HANDGUNS LANCE A. DAVIS (NAE) chair, National Academy of Engineering LOUIS F. BEHLING, Picatinny Arsenal (retired) RICHARD L. COSTELLO, Colt’s Manufacturing Co. (retired) T. DIXON DUDDERAR (NAE), Lucent Technologies (retired) LAWRENCE O’GORMAN, Avaya Laboratories LAWRENCE C. KRAVITZ, Allied Signal (retired) DAVID MAHER, InterTrust KAREN W. MARKUS, Zeus Strategies, LLC JAMES J. MATTICE, Universal Technology Corporation LAURENCE C. SEIFERT (NAE), AT&T Wireless (retired) MARVIN H. WHITE (NAE), Lehigh University Project Staff GREG PEARSON, Program Officer, National Academy of Engineering (NAE) RAY NASH, Consultant CAROL R. ARENBERG, Managing Editor, NAE

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Technological Options for User-Authorised Handguns: A Technology-Readiness Assessment Preface This report is the final product of the Committee on User-Authorized Handguns, a group of experts on diverse subjects under the auspices of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). The committee’s charge included examining the state of the art of technologies that might be used in the design of a reliable user-authorized handgun (UAHG) and estimating the costs and time required to achieve that goal. The project builds on a 2002 NAE workshop that touched on technical and non-technical issues associated with the development of a UAHG. In order to make the task more manageable, the committee focused its analysis on two groups of users: those in law enforcement and those who store and intend to use their firearms at home. The choice to frame the problem in this way was motivated by the committee’s consideration of design constraints. In the law enforcement case, the firearm may have to operate in a variety of adverse conditions (e.g., involving cold temperature, water, mud, blood), which raises the bar significantly in terms of engineering challenges. In the case of homeowners, the requirements, while still imposing, are less difficult since such firearms would be used in relatively “clean” and uniform environmental conditions. There are, of course, many other categories of handgun user—for example, target shooters and individuals who possess a concealed-carry permit. In most of these cases, the technical requirements will align with those for law enforcement.

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Technological Options for User-Authorised Handguns: A Technology-Readiness Assessment The committee hopes its report will inform ongoing discussions about the feasibility of developing handguns that may be less likely than standard-design firearms to be misused. Neither the report nor the committee takes a position regarding the desirability of producing a reliable UAHG. Lance Davis, chair Committee on User-Authorized Handguns

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Technological Options for User-Authorised Handguns: A Technology-Readiness Assessment Acknowledgments This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Academy of Engineering. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Steven M. Bellovin, Columbia University Kevin G. Foley, Smith & Wesson Kenneth D. Green, Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute David Hemenway, Harvard School of Public Health E. Dan Hirleman, Purdue University William F. Parkerson, III, National Rifle Association Edward Polkowski, American Competitiveness Institute Charles F. Wellford, University of Maryland John W. Wirsbinski, Sandia National Laboratories

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Technological Options for User-Authorised Handguns: A Technology-Readiness Assessment Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the findings nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Dale F. Stein, Michigan Technological University (emeritus). Appointed by the NAE president, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. In addition to the reviewers, the committee wishes to extend special thanks to the following individuals who provided particularly helpful input to the committee: Kevin Foley, Smith & Wesson; Donald Sebastian, New Jersey Institute of Technology; Ed Schmitter, FN Manufacturing Inc.; Christopher Miles, National Institute of Justice; Bert Moore, Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility; Larry Keane, National Shooting Sports Foundation; and Mark Behrens, Esq., Shook, Hardy & Bacon, L.L.P.

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Technological Options for User-Authorised Handguns: A Technology-Readiness Assessment Contents     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1      Goal and Objectives,   2      Requirements and Specifications,   3      Available Technologies,   3      Technology-Readiness Assessment,   4      Conclusion,   6      References,   7     TECHNOLOGICAL OPTIONS FOR USER-AUTHORIZED HANDGUNS   9      Goals and Objectives,   10      Data Gathering,   11      Technology-Readiness Levels,   12      Handguns and Research in Context,   12      Legislative and Liability Considerations,   18     Objective 1: User Requirements,   23     Objective 2: Specifications,   25     Objective 3: Available Technologies,   25     Objective 4: Technology-Readiness Assessment,   34      Findings,   44      References,   46

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Technological Options for User-Authorised Handguns: A Technology-Readiness Assessment     APPENDIXES         A   Workshop Agenda   51     B   Committee Biographies   55     C   NIJ-Funded Research on User-Authorized Handguns   61     D   Time and Cost Estimate for the Development of a New Conventional Handgun   69