Activists Call on Gun Manufacturers to Make Weapons Safer

About three dozen religious leaders, law enforcement members and elected officials gathered in Bridgeport on Monday to call on gun manufacturers to embrace new safety measures and technology.

“Collectively, we want to say to say to the gun manufacturers that we want you to take your part in helping to keep us safer,” said Rabbi Joel Mosbacher of Mahwah, New Jersey, who helped to organize Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut.

The group sent Requests for Information, or RFIs, to multiple American gun manufacturers to find out what measures they have taken to make their weapons safer and to keep them out of dangerous hands.

“We are going to use our collective purchasing power to make things better,” said Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch.

Part of the campaign has to do with harnessing the purchasing power of police and other law enforcement agencies participating in the effort.

The idea is that making new demands on weapons – such as the ability to identify who fired rounds or developing bracelet technology preventing a round from being fired unless the bracelet is near the weapon – will require gun makers to alter their production lines.

Jackie Pettway, who lost her son to gun violence in Bridgeport in September 2013, said police in her city are doing their jobs and now it’s up to the makers of the weapons to rise to the occasion.

“It’s not so much about making stiffer laws because we’ve done all of that. It’s about holding the manufacturers accountable for the weapons that they are making,” Pettway said.

Calls and emails to Colt and Smith and Wesson were not returned.

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