On Dec. 14, 2012, Ben Wheeler and 19 other first graders were gunned down in class at Sandy Hook Elementary School. At the end of it, 20 students, six educators, the gunman’s mother and the gunman were all dead. The horrific event sickened and saddened people all across the country.
But the tragic event also inflamed the debate on gun violence, which has since brought to light numerous topics within the debate such as universal background checks, assault weapons bans, arming teachers, gun free zones, mental health, and gun safety.
The latter, in recent months, has become the focus for both pro- and anti-gun groups. The topic tends to evoke less polarizing rhetoric and many are joining the conversation with what appear to be more neutral intentions by developing new safes, firearm controls, locks or just pushing the message.
Although pro-gun groups are skeptical of what are deemed ‘smart guns’ — a gun fitted with a device that disables firearm controls unless in range of an external key such as a ring or bracelet — the term is apparently expanding to include technology that is viewed as less intrusive.
Wheeler’s grandfather, Carmen Lobis, has recently joined the ranks of gun safety advocates and entrepreneurs by launching a crowd funding campaign to finance a new safety device called ProtectorXT gun locking station.
“Countless gun owners have admitted that they keep a loaded and unsecured weapon in their home,” Lobis wrote in his pitch. “Almost all of them clearly admit that they’d prefer not to have their weapon unsecured but have it available for quick access in case of an emergency.”
The Protector XT is essentially a carrier that locks a firearm in place until the owner unlocks it with his or her fingerprint. Theoretically the device would prevent unwanted individuals from obtaining the gun while allowing approved users access to it.
The device will hold a rifle, shotgun or AR, unlocks the weapon via fingerprint recognition, can be mounted to a wall, and uses AC power with battery backup.
While Protector XT is already a business entity with an idea, the product is still being build and improved. The project aims to raise $100,000 by June 6. And if it can get off the ground, it’s could be in the running to win a grant by the Smart Tech Challenges Foundation, a Silicon Valley non-profit aiming to improve smart gun technology.