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Biden eyeing technology in gun violence fight

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (3rd L) convenes a meeting with representatives from the video game industry, in a dialogue about gun violence
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (3rd L) convenes a meeting with representatives from the video game industry, in a dialogue about gun violence

By Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As Vice President Joe Biden prepares a set of proposals to curb gun violence for delivery next week, he is taking a look at technology that would make it impossible for people to fire guns that they did not buy themselves.

At a meeting with video game industry executives on Friday, Biden said he and other officials would meet with experts to explore ways to limit how and by whom guns are fired.

"We will be meeting with technology experts because, to overstate the case ... 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 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. Because had the young man not had access to his mother's arsenal, he may or may not have did what he did," Biden said.

Biden is leading a task force drawing up recommendations on guns to give to President Barack Obama by next Tuesday following the massacre of 20 children and six adults at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school by a gunman last month.

The gunman, Adam Lanza, 20, killed his mother before carrying out the shootings at the school.

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

Biden's Friday meeting included representatives from companies that make "first-person shooter" video games such as "Call of Duty," "Medal of Honor" and "Grand Theft Auto.

Biden has met with several groups associated with the gun violence debate this week, including the influential National Rifle Association lobbying organization, which complained after a meeting with Biden on Thursday that the White House was trying to limit constitutionally protected gun rights.

Biden declined to comment specifically on the NRA's criticism of their meeting.

"I thought we had a very straightforward, productive meeting," he said. "I don't have any comment about what anybody said about the meeting."

Biden noted that the issue of gun violence extended well beyond the high-profile massacres that have dominated public attention.

"There are 10,000 people a year gunned down in our cities - different motives, different reasons, different explanations. But it's a real problem, it's serious," he said.

(Editing by Alistair Bell and Will Dunham)

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