Gun Safety Technologies:

Smart Guns 101

Smart guns are firearms with features that enable the weapon to only be fired by the authorized user(s). These safety technologies can prevent misuse, accidental shootings, gun thefts, and self-harm. Smart guns can be enabled by RFID or biometric technology, or mechanical methods, and can be built into guns during manufacturing. Another approach is through retrofitting or providing advanced trigger lock modifications to some of the 300 million existing guns in circulation.

Biometrics

Fingerprint-access technology is widely used in alarms and other security devices and offers a high-tech solution to prevent others from using a firearm. When an authorized user (firearms can be programmed for one or multiple users) presses their finger to the gun’s fingerprint scanner, the scanner compares the print to its internal database; unauthorized users cannot access the firearm. With the latest in scanning technology, a person can authenticate in a fraction of a second. Biometric modifications can be made to existing guns, such as innovator Tom Lynch’s retrofit of an AR-15 rifle with fingerprint-access safety technology.

 Image courtesy of the Wall Street Journal, 2016.

Image courtesy of the Wall Street Journal, 2016.

 Image courtesy of iGun Technology Corporation

Image courtesy of iGun Technology Corporation

RFID

RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) is a security technology that has been used for decades and is familiar to many who unlock or start their cars with their key FOB. It uses radio waves to read and capture information stored on a token linked to an object, like a ring or watch. In most RFID firearms designs, the token can unlock the trigger within a few inches of the firearm. When not in close proximity to the token, the firearm stays completely secure to prevent others—especially children—from accidentally firing it. RFID technologies are impervious to rain and mud and can be used wearing gloves. Jonathan Mossberg’s iGun and Robert McNamara’s Triggersmart are two examples of RFID guns.

External Gun Locks and Safes:

A wide array of both smart and mechanical external locks and safes are being developed to provide quicker, easier, and safer access to the existing 300 million firearms in circulation. Since many gun owners want to have a firearm that is accessible immediately, these locking devices and safes provide a significantly safer way to store guns when not in a traditional safe.

Gun Guardians biometric trigger lock and IDENTILOCK’s trigger lock are two examples that provide a firearm owner access to their firearm in under one second. Vigil’s Opensafe is a biometric gun safe that can be affixed to a bedside table and Life-Save-R Gunlock is a mechanical barrel lock that fits any size firearm. All these devices give firearm owners options for safely securing their firearms.

 Opensafe′s stainless steel core resembles a knife block. Courtesy of Timothy Oh.

Opensafe′s stainless steel core resembles a knife block. Courtesy of Timothy Oh.

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