What The Tech?: Warren Tolman Wants Guns to Have Fingerprint-Only Access

People couldn't fire a weapon without verifying who they are first.

Screenshot via Vimeo

Screenshot via Vimeo

If there is fingerprint access technology for smartphones, to keep the wrong person from using a device, why not do the same for guns?

That’s what Warren Tolman, a candidate for Attorney General, has in mind as a solution to lowering gun thefts and shooting deaths in Massachusetts.

“It’s time we use the power of [the] law to protect the health and safety of our citizens to do what Congress can’t—require gun manufacturers to utilize existing personalized gun technology for all new weapons sold in the Commonwealth,” Tolman said in a statement.

Under his proposal, Tolman said he could leverage existing laws, using Chapter 93A, the consumer protection statute, in order to regulate firearms with the new technology.

Tolman said by having guns equipped with a feature that would require the shooter to place a finger on a pad that would recognize them, before the gun could be shot, it would “take the guns out of the hands of criminals who steal them,” and keep children that get a hold of weapons safe.

Tolman’s suggestion comes at a time when a task force at the State House has been mulling over ways to reduce gun violence statewide, and has heard proposals from both pro and anti-gun advocates.

In an Op-Ed he wrote for the Boston Globe this week, Tolman said the solution to gun violence is “right at our fingertips.”

“Just as your fingerprint can be used to unlock your iPhone, fingerprint technology can be used to operate firearms. Doing so would ensure that a firearm could be operated only by its rightful owner or designees. Gun manufacturers have the technology to do this today,” he wrote. “All this could be done without impinging on Second Amendment rights. It’s about improving safety, and restricting access to prohibited users. It’s a sensible response, using technology that’s readily available today.”

Turns out, Tolman isn’t the only one thinking about the future of technology, and how it can shape the gun violence debate.

A group called Safe Gun Technology, or SGTi, wants to improve gun safety “exponentially” by bringing to market a proprietary technology for user-authorized firearms.

“SGTi technology focuses on making guns safer through biometric technology. This technology can be incorporated into any user authorized small firearm. This includes a shotgun, rifle, pistol, or handgun. Our technology is unique in its design, disabling mechanism, and increased capacity for weapon safety,” according to the group’s mission statement. “Once enabled, you can effectively “lock” a gun, and preventing any unauthorized user from firing the weapon.”

Below is a video demonstration, posted by the group, of the early generation Safe Gun Technology prototype installed on a Remington 870 pump shotgun: