This Smart Gun Could Save Lives

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Learning about Gun Safety

Do you want to go for gun safety training classes. I was speaking to a law enforcement officer. He came home from a bad day at work, and left his gun on the kitchen table. And when he was in the other room, he fell asleep, and his kid found the gun. His wife was able to intervene and take the firearm away from his kid, and so nothing happened. But let’s say his wife hadn’t been home. That could have been a very bad situation. With a smart gun, the kid finds the gun, it’s going to be locked. We want change! We want change! Americans have never been more politically engaged on the issue of gun violence. And yet, attempts at widespread gun control laws keep hitting a brick wall. As the gun debate rages on, some are considering a different kind of solution – one that could have a huge impact on certain kinds of gun violence. A smart gun is a gun that can only be used by the owner, either because of biometrics, that is, fingerprint, or some other technology.

If a teenager wants to kill himself and the easiest means is their father or mother’s gun, they’re unable to do that. It wouldn’t stop all mass shootings, but it would stop some of them, because so often in mass shootings, the young man is using a gun that isn’t actually theirs. My name is Kai Kloepfer. I’m the founder of Bio fire Technologies, an early-stage startup based here in Boston. Basically what we’re doing is incorporating fingerprint sensors or other authentication methods into firearms. Our prototype, as far as I know it’s the first fingerprint smart gun in the world. So we’ve got our live-fire prototype here. What this is we’ve taken an off-the-shelf firearm and incorporated all of our technology into it. So uh, this is my teammate Luke.

We’ve got this here, it’s programmed to me. And so if I hand it to you here, um got it? And you put your finger on the sensor here, it’s just going to flash white. So no matter how much he pulls on the trigger, it’s just going to be completely locked. But if I take it, and do the exact same thing, it’s going to go red. And what that means is if I close the slide here, it’s going to fire I originally got into it as a sophomore in high school. I thought, well of course smart guns are going to work. Like, I understand the technology, and I’ve shot guns, I’ve used guns in the past. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to combine these, right? It turns out that, at the time, if I’d talked to pretty much anybody, most people would have probably told me that was impossible. There is no smart gun available in the United States today, because 2nd amendment absolutists are vehemently opposed to smart guns.

A safe gun is one that fires when you pull the trigger every single time. If tech companies can’t make electronics that are 100% reliable, how are firearms companies supposed to do it? When you need a firearm, there is zero time to be messing with rebooting your gun. The government could turn these things off. I swear, if one more liberal tells me how I have to live my life, my head’s going to explode!

There’s a law that was passed in New Jersey, it’s called the Childproof Handgun Act, that says that in New Jersey, once a smart gun is available anywhere in the United States, all guns sold in New Jersey after a certain time period have to be smart guns. What that did was, anytime someone has thought about selling a smart gun anywhere in the United States, there’s been some pushback.

There are several instances in recent years where a store had decided they were going to carry a smart gun from Europe. New Jersey, everybody involved, including the state senators that initially introduced the bill, have realized that it didn’t quite work the way they intended. So that law is in the final stages of being repealed; that is on its way out the door. This technology can only have impact if people are choosing to buy it instead of traditional firearms. We would much rather have the opportunity to get this out there and prove to people that it’s a superior product that people want to buy.

All right, well we’re about to do alive fire demo here. You can see if I put my finger on it, it’s going to go red. And then when I come up here to fire and that’s sort of all there is to it. NARR: Kai still faces a lot of challenges. Many potential buyers could be put off by the unreliability of fingerprint readers under wet or dirty conditions.

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