New Smart Gun Technology Uses Fingerprint Recognition to Childproof Firearms

Omer Kiyani was on a leadership path at a large Detroit automobile company but he was so bothered by stories about teen suicides using guns and accidental shooting deaths that he instead chose to focus on developing his own solution to address the problem. His take on smart gun technology — Identilock — was on display this week at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show, or SHOT Show.

“I’m a parent and a gun owner,” said Kiyani, who came up with the concept eight years ago. “I wanted something to protect my children from the gun I bought to protect them.”

The Identilock is a trigger lock device that uses fingerprint recognition to childproof a firearm.

Expanding research and development of authorized user recognition technology, often referred to as personalized or smart guns, was a big part of the executive actions President Barack Obama announced earlier this month, but the firearms community has been skeptical of smart gun platforms since their inception in the late 1990s.

The Identilock may prove to be a more palatable option for resistant gun owners, because the device would allow one to adapt the technology to the guns they already own.

The Identilock is roughly the size of a man’s palm and fits over the trigger of pistols (and a few long guns). It recognizes up to nine different fingerprints, from either different fingers or people, on a square window about twice the size of the biometric sensor on most smartphones.

Although it would be virtually impossible to force the Identilock off a gun using household tools — it would take hundreds of pounds of force — Kiyani said his device isn’t an anti-theft measure. It’s all about the children.

“I see a picture of a kid who shot themselves, and it blows my mind,” Kiyani said. “I have a solution.”

Kiyani said it’s up to every parent who owns a gun to make sure their children are educated in gun safe, and he has made sure his are.

“But I can never guarantee their friends and whatnot,” he said.

Obama announced a series of actions aimed at reducing gun violence earlier this month, including an instruction for federal agencies to invest in the research and development of smart gun technology.

“If we can set it up so you can’t unlock your phone unless you’ve got the right fingerprint, why can’t we do the same thing for our guns?” Obama said on Jan. 5. “If a child can’t open a bottle of aspirin, we should make sure that they can’t pull a trigger on a gun.”CCI 209M Primers Shotshell Magnum Box of 1000 (10 Trays of 100)

Smart gun technology has been around in some form or another since the late 1990s. Models use fingerprint recognition or a transmitter device within a watch, bracelet or ring to unlock the trigger mechanisms in a gun.

Gun owners have had concerns over the safety and reliability of smart guns in addition to worries about mandates involving the technology, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade group that presents the SHOT Show.

They worry that fingerprints can’t work if the hand is covered in blood, saying the gun would be unusable at the time when a gun owner needs it most. Many of the smart guns that have been developed also rely on batteries, which could again put a gun owner in danger if they lose their charge at a bad time.CCI 209M Primers Shotshell Magnum Box of 1000 (10 Trays of 100)

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