Biden: Technology could aid in gun control

A man fires a handgun at Sandy Springs

A man fires a handgun at Sandy Springs Gun Club and Range in Sandy Springs, Ga. (Jan. 4, 2013) (Credit: AP)

WASHINGTON - Vice President Joe Biden said Friday his gun-violence panel is taking a look at technology that would make it impossible for people to fire guns that they did not buy themselves.

"We will be meeting with technology experts because. . . a lot could change if, for example, every gun purchased could only be fired by the person who purchased it," Biden said during the meeting with video game executives while reporters were in the room.

"That technology exists, but it's extremely expensive. But if that were available with every weapon sold, there's significant evidence that . . . may very well curtail what happened up in Connecticut," Biden said, referring to the elementary school shootings last month that killed 20 children and six adults. "Because had the young man not had access to his mother's arsenal, he may or may not have did what he did," the vice president said.

The gunman, Adam Lanza, 20, killed his mother before the Newtown shootings and then killed himself.

Biden is leading a task force drawing up recommendations on guns, to give to President Barack Obama by Tuesday.

So-called smart gun technology would allow weapons to recognize the fingerprints of an owner. According to the Violence Policy Center, which works to stop gun-related deaths and injuries, its feasibility is speculative.

Biden's meeting on Friday included representatives from the makers of "first-person shooter" video games such as "Call of Duty," "Medal of Honor" and "Grand Theft Auto." He said the meeting was an effort to understand whether the United States was undergoing a "coarsening of our culture." The video industry, blamed by some for fostering a culture of violence, defended its practices.

Some studies conclude that video games can desensitize people to real-world violence or temporarily quiet part of the brain that governs impulse control. Others find there is no lasting effect.

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