Computer manufacturers have offered fingerprint detection as a biometric means of protecting the contents of computers from unauthorized users for many years. One company boasts over 100 million users of its fingerprint technology worldwide. Similar technology can offer protection for gun owners and provide additional security for those who choose to own guns.
In at least two of the recent mass shootings in the US (Connecticut, New Mexico), the gun owner was killed by his/her own gun. In each case, the owner paid the ultimate price for not securing their firearms and allowing a mentally disturbed person access to them.
So called smart gun technology has existed for many years and has drawn criticism from both gun rights and gun control groups. However, the increasing frequency of gun-related violence, recently culminated by the killing of 20 children and the public outcry to do something requires compromise to make progress.
Among the sensing possibilities in a technology solution are a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag embedded under the skin, magnetic proximity rings and fingerprint sensors. The least disruptive approach appears to be the biometric approach of fingerprint sensing.
Fingerprint protected vaults, such as biometric gun safes from GunVault and others add an additional or alternate protection layer that can only be accessed by authorized users. Quick access to the safe’s contents by an authorized person can occur easily in a high-stress situation. No access is allowed to unauthorized individuals. About 15 fingerprints can be enrolled so more than one user or more than one finger on the user’s hand can be detected. A mechanical key provides an override capability in case the unit’s battery gets too low.
Fingerprint detection in a firearm is a newer application of the technology. For example, Kodiak Industries Intelligun is a handgun with a fingerprint locking system that does not require an additional key or code to use. The strategically placed fingerprint sensor allows only an authorized user to pull the trigger and the system automatically relocks when the user lets go of the gun. The company plans on introducing a retrofit kit and additional handgun models.
While others propose solutions, gun owners certainly should protect themselves from unauthorized users of their guns. Technology can provide this protection. Lawyers, politicians, doctors and special interest groups – not required.