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Many small investments add up to $17m for biometric gun maker Biofire

Many small investments add up to $17m for biometric gun maker Biofire
 

Firearms with biometric safeties have been discussed for years with little to show for the brainstorming. But this week, a gun-tech startup has reported raising $17 million in seed money.

Executives for the company, Biofire Technologies, say it is the world’s largest private placement in firearm technology.

(That is a difficult claim to substantiate, particularly given that Biofire only decloaked after the investment was finalized. BioFire System is an unrelated medical diagnostic firm.)

A fingerprint sensor on the left side of the grip, in the form of a black circle visible in a product photo of the chunky, matte-black gun on Biofire’s site, is used to authenticate the biometrics of those allowed to fire the weapon.

In announcing the placement, the company states, fuzzily, that the gun has “bipartisan support” from 50 or more venture funds, private family offices (a family’s finance manager) and “high net-worth individuals.”

Impressive, but dividing $17 million by 50 results in less than confidence-instilling individual support.

Biofire is one of several startups listed by the Smart Tech Foundation, a gun-safety crowdsourcing site, but is unclear if the group played a role in the placement. The contribution page features a disconcertingly intense young man holding a handgun.

A beta program for the gun concept, also shy on details, involves people “from the special forces, law enforcement and executive protection communities.”

The company hints that it has consulted with “gun owners, engineers, and parents” on the gun’s design. Indeed, it says it has support from “the firearm community” and even the media.

Biofire Founder Kai Kloepfer, speaking with TechCrunch, says he began work on a biometrically locking gun in 2012, after a mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado.

The article points out that few mass shootings, murders and suicides would be prevented by Biofire’s biometrics-scanning gun. It presumably would reduce the number of accidental shootings by children whose guardians did not otherwise secure their weapons.

But that might not have to be good enough, as there are a number of other startups developing ideas to prevent guns from being fired.

Non-profit investigative news publisher The Trace last October estimated that about 300,000 privately owned guns were reported stolen (or “fell out of circulation”) in 2020. The article notes that researchers have found that 380,000 privately held guns are reported stolen each year.

Those totals would be higher if they somehow included unreported losses and thefts.

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