Frequently Asked Questions

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Do you support smart-gun specific mandates/the New Jersey Law?

We are strongly opposed to any smart-gun-specific laws or regulations, such as that currently on the books in New Jersey. We think smart guns can provide an option to better secure firearms for some firearm owners. They are not a solution that equally applies to all types of gun owners and they shouldn’t be forced on gun owners.

All the design work and development that we have been doing over the past 4 years goes towards creating a product that can stand on its own in a free market. We are making a product that is reliable and easy to use so that the gun community will see it as a viable option. We don’t need mandates to sell our smart guns, we will do that on the merits of our product.

Our goal at Biofire is to create a safer firearm that doesn’t restrict the freedoms of the gun owner or limit how they can use it. Mandates obviously oppose this goal.

The New Jersey mandate is a major roadblock to smart guns, and has been since it was passed 20 years ago. We are closely following the repeal process and were disappointed to see Chris Christie veto the repeal of this law that we view as restricting gun owners’ rights.

Will the government/anyone else be able to hack/remotely disable/modify your smart gun?

No. There are no communication devices of any sort in our smart gun. When we start selling them, people can take them apart and easily confirm that.  There is no smart phone app, no Bluetooth, no Wi-Fi. This means that there is no way that anyone can do anything to the gun remotely.

This also means that the gun has no way of “verifying” or “registering” the owner with any government program. You need to observe any laws relevant in your state towards purchasing firearms normally, but once the gun has been purchased, the only person who can control it is the owner. Smart guns do not introduce any additional purchasing requirements or background checks over a normal firearm.

If they have physical access, we are making it very hard. The USB port at the bottom is used only for charging, the data is not connected to anything. The images of the user’s fingerprints are never stored on the gun, only mathematical representations of them that cannot be converted back into the image. We are encrypting the fingerprint storage to make sure that fingerprints cannot be added without the owner’s action. Our final product will undergo a security audit by a third party, the gold standard for securing an electronic device. Plus, for any of this to even be a concern, a trained criminal must have broken into your house and spent quite a bit of time taking apart the smart gun.

Will your smart gun limit what I can do with my firearm?

No. The owner has full control over their own firearm.

The owner adds their fingerprint when they purchase the gun, becoming the “admin” user. They then have the option to add or remove anyone else that they choose, such as a spouse or trusted friend, just by authenticating with their fingerprint and following a simple process.

They also have the option to sell the firearm. Again, they authenticate with their fingerprint and follow a different process that wipes all the fingerprints from the gun, including the owner’s. This then allows them to transfer the gun, in any legal fashion, to someone else. The new owner then adds their fingerprint and the process starts over.

How long does your smart gun stay unlocked?
We are using advanced sensors in the grip to detect when a user is holding onto the smart gun. This means that the gun will remain unlocked for as long as the user is holding it, even if their finger slips off the fingerprint sensor after the smart gun is unlocked. The moment that the user loses grip on the firearm, whether they put the gun down, holstered it, or had it taken out of their hands, the gun immediately locks.
How fast does your smart gun unlock/lock?

Currently our prototype unlocks in less than 1.5sec. We are working to improve this for the production model and expect to be able to get it under 0.5sec to unlock the smart gun. Our goal is to make sure that the added smart technology doesn’t slow the user down when they need to use their firearm.

Locking will always be faster, as we don’t need to recognize the user’s fingerprint, rather just the absence of a grip.

How accurately do I have to place my finger?

In the final design, the smart gun will be able to read your fingerprint assuming the firearm is gripped with something close to a proper grip. We are working to decide the exact location and size of the fingerprint sensor to make the process as reliable and intuitive as possible for the widest range of users.

 

 

What about left handed/ambidextrous use? What if I want to add a user that has a different dominant hand?
The current prototype only works with your right hand, but it is only a prototype. At launch we will have both a right and left hand model, and likely a more expensive model that has a sensor on either side and will work with both hands.
How will this help address suicides?

Unlike accidental deaths, it isn’t as immediately apparent as to how a smart gun could help prevent suicides.

Suicides make up the bulk of gun deaths, with over 21,000 firearms suicides out of 33,000 firearm deaths in 2014 [1. Deaths Final Data, Table 18]. What’s more, suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 15-34 years old.[2]

 

[2] Suicide Datasheet