Still in the development stage, so-called 'smart guns' that fire only in the proper hands are close to becoming a reality.  The idea is to keep guns away from children who accidentally fire them.  The US National Safety Council reports that nine children are killed every day from gun violence.  VOA's Paul Sisco has today's Searching for Solutions report.

In the 1995 movie, Judge Dredd, smart guns will fire only if they recognize the shooter's palm. Gun manufactures say the use of such biometric technology in the gun's grip may soon become a reality.

"If the person is not recognized, the gun would not be unlocked, so the gun would not fire," said Ho Chang, from Austria-based Nanoident Biometrics.

Californian Griffin Dix supports a proposed bill that would require smart guns in his state.  "That gun can not be used by kids to shoot in unintentional shootings as my son died," he said. "They would also stop a lot of gun suicides.  It would stop some criminals; thieves could not use the guns."

"We think it is a reasoned approach to look at new technology that actually might make these dangerous products safer for all Californians," said Mark DeSauliner, California assemblyman.

Biometric technology is already used at some airports to ensure a traveler's identity.  DeSauliner thinks applying it to weapons will prevent accidents, stop thieves from using stolen guns, and save lives.

But Ed Worley, with the National Rifle Association, opposes smart gun legislation. "The last thing in the world you want to do is put a computer on a gun," he says.  "What happens when the battery goes dead?  What happens when the computer software fails?"

Once the technology is proven, and if proposed legislation is passed in California, all new firearm models will require smart gun biometric technology within 18 months after they become commercially available.