Shot in the face as a teenager, Omar Kiyani has created a biometric gun lock to improve gun safety, called Identilock.
Previously an engineer in Detroit working at improving airbag safety, Kiyani told incubator TechTownDetroit that he decided to devote his career full time to his idea after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012.
“I’m a parent and a gun owner,” Kiyani told gun safety blog GunSafeLock. “I wanted something to protect my children from the gun I bought to protect them.”
The gun lock attaches to the gun itself, and blocks the gun’s trigger. The biometric system has been created to recognise up to nine different fingerprints, and takes only a second to recognise the print and unlock the gun. The device comes off the gun in a way that makes the firearm usable immediately.
The lock keeps a charge for up to six months and is rechargeable by USB, but there is also a manual key override if the gun is left without charge. The idea is that the gun can be kept close to hand while also prioritising safety, as often gun safety solutions require locking it away in a safe, which would require fumbling with a key and a lock in an emergency situation.
“The main point of firearms ownership is home defense, and home defense means quick access,” Kiyani told CNN. “But the other side of that is accidents.”
The gun lock has a 90-day return policy, aware that many gun users are cautious when presented with new technology, and is currently retailing at $239. One of the advantages of the lock is that it fits a wide variety of different handguns, so gun owners can use the gun they already own with the safety device.
The gun employs a metal alloy created by NASA in order to withstand extreme conditions, although some reviews note that the outer material feels a little flimsy. Also, Fortune wondered what would happen in an emergency situation if your fingers were wet, muddy or bloody?
However, new technology to improve gun safety is definitely a sector that requires some investment, especially to combat school shootings. The world is still reeling after the recent school shooting in Florida left 17 people dead, and gun safety website Every Town’s research reports that there have been 17 school shootings in 2018 alone, and over 290 since the Sandy Hook shootings, one of the worst in recent American history. Despite this, Congress is still refusing to tighten gun ownership laws, reported The Guardian.
Research carried out by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention noted that the majority of guns used in school-associated mass homicides and suicides came primarily from the perpetrators’ family homes, or those of their friends and other relatives.
However, the Smart Tech Foundation was created in 2013, which supports gun safety technology. They state that 20,000 people in the US are killed or injured by unintentional shooting, which is the most preventable form of gun violence. The foundation supports the right to bear arms, as long as it is done in a safe way, by funding innovative companies that create safety technology for gun use, granting $1 billion to 15 innovators (including Identilock) in 2014.
Other gun safety technologies include smart guns, which are only able to be used by the owner, but this would require people to buy a whole new gun, which many are understandably unenthusiastic about. Also available are the classic Winchester safes, but these can reach over $3,500.
It is becoming increasingly clear that America is not going to let go of its second amendment Identilock is the first gun safety device that makes responsible gun ownership easy, by blending high-quality technology with both convenience and ease of use.