A series of executive orders designed to reduce gun violence includes directives to advance the use of gun safety technology.
The measures, announced Tuesday by the Obama administration, require the departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security to develop a strategy regarding firearm safety research and development over the next three months.
Those agencies are also required to review currently available technology, along with potential ways to make it more available, on a regular basis. The administration noted that the federal government — the country's largest single purchaser of firearms — "has a unique opportunity to advance this research."
Ongoing research includes fingerprint scanners, radio-frequency identification and microstamping systems that could curb accidental discharges, reduce unauthorized use of firearms or improve tracking of lost or stolen guns.
"If we can set it up so you can’t unlock your phone unless you’ve got the right fingerprint, why can’t we do the same thing for our guns?" President Obama asked during remarks at the White House on Tuesday.
The executive orders also include provisions regarding firearm purchase background checks, increased mental health funding and additional resources for law enforcement.
“We maybe can’t save everybody, but we could save some,” Obama said during his often emotional address. “Just as we don’t prevent all traffic accidents but we take steps to try to reduce traffic accidents.”
The measures, however, drew opposition from both the gun lobby and Republicans in Congress — though reports suggested that the latter would be unlikely to reverse the orders.
"Rather than focus on criminals and terrorists, he goes after the most law-abiding of citizens," said House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin. "His words and actions amount to a form of intimidation that undermines liberty."