Biofire will avoid triggering regulation as biometric ‘Smart Gun’ reaches pre-orders
Executives with Biofire say their company’s Smart Gun is the first with biometric capabilities to reach the consumer market anywhere in the world, as the company takes pre-orders.
The semi-automatic 9mm handgun can have up to five authorized users. The device uses both fingerprint and facial recognition to recognize a user, Biofire Lead Designer Bryan Rogers explains to NPR for Northern Colorado. “It’s either/or — whichever one it gets first.”
As soon as the user picks up the gun, it searches for the user’s biometrics. Once they are found, the gun remains unlocked until the user puts it down. Biofire CEO Kai Kloepfer claims that the weapon’s facial recognition system works well in the dark in an interview with Second Amendment advocate Emily Miller.
Powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, Biofire says that one charge can last several months with average use and can continuously fire for hours. The gun is a “completely hardened, air-gapped system” with “no Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or GPS.” Aside from a single USB-C port that doesn’t trust anything connected to it, “there’s no connectivity of any kind in the gun,” Kloepfer explains.
The Biofire can enroll the biometrics of up to five people.
The release of this new technology could be a catalyst for the implementation of unprecedented gun laws. Initially created in 2002 and amended in 2019, New Jersey’s Childproof Handgun Law requires that all firearm retailers in the state must make “personalized handguns” available in their stores within 60 days after one is approved by the Personalized Handgun Authorization Commission (PHAC).
Kloepfer said to Miller that his company has “consistently lobbied against mandates or requirements of smart guns for any reason.” He will not submit his gun to New Jersey regulators for review in order to avoid triggering the law.
Gun violence prevention advocates emphasize that even biometrically locked guns carry risk. “The safest thing you can do for your family is to not have a gun,” said Eileen McCarron, President of Colorado Ceasefire in a comment to NPR for Northern Colorado. “There’s still the issue of suicide for the person who is identifiable by the machine.” In 2021, 54 percent of all gun related deaths were suicides, according to Pew Research Center.
Despite the fact that the company is accepting orders, Biofire has not yet released failure rates for guns. Kloepfer promised that they will be released formally to customers “before we ask anybody to put down non-refundable, final payments.” A prototype of the gun failed to fire twice when demonstrated for Reuters in April.