The last thing we need in this world is more guns. But we’re getting them whether we like it or not, so wouldn’t it be nice if those guns had safety mechanisms like our phones, making them impossible for anyone but their owners to use? That’s what Biofire is building, and it has raised $17 million to finalize and commercialize its biometric-secured firearm.
“I started to think, what could I possibly do to have an impact on this? How can I apply product building skills to what would appear to be a public health challenge? The problem of children and teens finding guns, accidents and suicides — that was the place where I really saw tech and a physical, product-based solution having an impact,” he said.
Let’s be clear on something first. A gun that only the shooter can use could hardly have prevented most mass shootings. Gun ownership is also closely correlated with suicide, increasing risk in almost every way. Guns themselves are fundamentally at the heart of gun violence, but it must also be acknowledged that there have been precious few advances in safety and restrictions in recent years despite countless shootings and constant debate on the issue.
Of course there are locks out there already: trigger locks, gun safes and things like that. But as Kloepfer pointed out, “all those require human action to re-secure the gun — and sometimes that’s not feasible.” Those could be situations where the gun is taken away from a person, or the much more likely occurrence of simply forgetting or neglecting to lock it up.