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Following the introduction of the SAFE Act in New York state, the Innovation Trail reporting team in conjunction with WNYC/New York Public Radio, has prepared a series of programs backgrounding the economic context for gun manufacture and retail in New York. A series of radio and web features will roll out starting Monday 4th February. Amongst the issues addressed:Matt Richmond examines the role of tax credits and other financial incentives used to to support arms manufacturing in the state.Kate O'Connell looks at research and development in the industry and finds that tradition carries more weight than innovation for both makers and customers.Ryan Delaney follows up on the future for the Remington Arms factory that anchors the Mohawk Valley town of Ilion. Do the new laws in the state really endanger jobs there?http://youtu.be/TgMM52tgwCwSarah Harris spends time with some north country gun store owners who are trying to navigate the new regulatory framework for background checks and licensing, and they're wondering whether it's worth staying in business.Joanna Richards talks with military and ex-military personnel to get their views on gun safety and ownership of miltary-style firepower by civilians, and spends time at a local gun club.Robert Lewis discovers that it's a good time to be recruiting for the NRA as he visits a long-running annual gun fair in the state's capital that attracted record crowds.http://youtu.be/UdprooUVFYk

Investment fund hopes to spur innovation in gun safety technology

Franklin gun shop

Although some states took legislative action after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings over a year ago, the debate over gun control has largely stalled at the national level. Now, a group of tech investors have launched the Smart Tech Challenges Foundation to spur innovation of gun safety technology.

The foundation is putting forward a $1 million prize pool to aid gun safety tech entrepreneurs.

Donald Sebastian is the senior VP of research and development at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and he’s been working on this kind of research for more than a decade.

Sebastian says innovation in the gun industry has been slow, because gun safety is often seen as synonymous with gun control.

“I think a very important step to move all these technologies forward is to get them out of the laboratory and into the field to remove that fear, uncertainty and doubt that these are somehow compromising the integrity of the gun as opposed to enhancing the safety of the gun.”

Sebastian says incentives like this new competition will help speed up the process of tech transfer from the lab to the market.

His team is set to enter the challenge with a safety mechanism which only responds to the particular palm pressure of its owner as they grip the stock of the gun and pull the trigger.

“Essentially the way that you squeeze the stock of the gun while you’re pulling the trigger makes a movie, it’s a movie of pressure much like when you watch the high and low pressure move across a map of the United States on the weather forecast, you create the same effect which is both reproducible and individual to you.”

Sebastian says they hope to bring their technology to the market by the end of the year.

The FBI conducted just under 21 million firearms background checks in 2013.

WXXI/Finger Lakes Reporter for the Innovation Trail
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