Trigger Locks May Not Matter

One of the Senate's accomplishments in gun control this week was a vote to require that handguns now be sold with a safety device, usually a trigger lock.

The idea is to keep children and teenagers from being able to use the gun. An example, the teen charged in Georgia school shooting might have stolen his weapons from his parents. But will trigger locks make any difference? They may not, reports CBS News Correspondent Wyatt Andrews.

At his gun store in Virgina, Heyward Long shows a visitor the kind of trigger lock the Senate's safe lock amendment would call for. It is locked with a key, and it blocks the trigger. The problem, Long says, is that gun owners don't want to fumble with a key if they need the weapon in a pinch. "90% of them are gonna take it off and not use it," , he says. Legally, the buyer could actually throw the lock away.

If the Senate proposal becomes law, handguns would have to be sold with safety devices or trigger locks -- but with no requirement that buyers actually use them. In other words, the safe lock amendment won't make guns safe, and doesn't mean guns will be locked.

On this point, the NRA and the gun control lobby agree. Both see the law as ineffective.

"The law does not go far enough. because it does not affect the design of the product itself," says Dennis Hennigan of the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence.

Hennigan points out that there are several technologies, fingerprint access for example, or combination locks on the grip, that would make guns more childproof. The Senate is not demanding that these be used.

Sen. Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, the author of the law, agrees the measure isn't perfect but in the politics of gun control, he argues, it is a critical start. "It's a way in which parents, if they wish, from now on can see to it and insure that when a hand gun is not being used, it can be locked up and stored," he says. "I think that's a big accomplishment."

Gun control advocates say the law would prevent some accidental deaths. But in three of the school shootings, Paducah, Jonesboro and now Conyers, there is evidence the weapons were stolen -- and no one believes trigger lock legislation will stop that.