Story at a glance
- Gun manufacturer, LodeStar, says it has developed a smart gun.
- Called the LS9, the smart gun incorporates technology in multiple ways to enable safer use of guns, including fingerprint technology.
- LodeStar’s LS9 is a 9mm handgun and is expected to be released at the end of this year. It will be available for $895.
A firearm manufacturer is trying to make the industry safer by developing a smart gun that requires fingerprint authentication before it can be discharged, saying it has the potential to save thousands of lives every year.
LodeStar is hoping to revolutionize the industry with technology through the LS9, a 9mm handgun that incorporates fingerprint or face technology, radio frequency identification (RFID) and a PIN pad imbedded in the grip.
LodeStar plans to introduce LS9 to the public toward the end of the year. The company hopes first-time gun buyers will consider a smart gun, and for existing gun owners to add to their collection of firearms.
Gareth Glaser, CEO of LodeStar, told Changing America that his company was inspired to create a functional smart gun after witnessing countless lives lost to gun violence. Glaser listed examples of children accidentally firing a parent’s gun or teenagers getting a hold of a parent’s gun who then go on to conduct a school shooting or even commit suicide.
The Gun Violence Archive has documented years' worth of firearms incidents and found that the number of injuries from guns considered willful, malicious or accidental have consistently increased since 2018. The latest data from 2020 lists 39,492 injuries from guns.
The number of children aged 11 or younger killed or injured from guns has also gone up every year since 2018, with 2020 recording the highest number of deaths at 999 since 2014.
Mass shooting deaths and murder-suicide deaths also increased consistently every year since 2018, according to Gun Violence Archive data.
LodeStar hopes to change that, with Glaser saying, “We think we can save better than 10,000 lives a year.”
It comes down to the technology that LS9 incorporates, starting with fingerprint identification that’s required to unlock the gun. There’s also RFID built in, which uses a “digital handshake” between a chip embedded in the gun itself and a corresponding wearable tag, through a ring or bracelet.
In addition to those, the LS9 also incorporates Bluetooth activation that uses a person’s smartphone to unlock the gun. Lastly, the gun also includes a PIN pad embedded in the grip.
All these methods of activation allow user’s flexibility to safely unlock and discharge their gun, while keeping it safely out of arms reach from anyone not authorized to use it.
Glaser said gun owners would be able to add up to four authenticated users for the LS9, but if the firearm is eventually used by law enforcement, the authentication threshold could allow for an entire police force to be able to unlock a single LS9.
The LS9 will be available for $895, which Glaser says is half the price of other smart guns on the market.
SmartGunz is another gun manufacturer that sells a 9mm smart gun called the Sentry. The civilian retail price of the Sentry is $1,995, while law enforcement and corrections agencies can get one for $1,795. The Sentry also incorporates RFID technology required before the gun can be fired.
Glaser says he hopes his company’s LS9 eventually becomes the Tesla of guns.
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