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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Investor Said 19-Year-Old Smart Gun Inventor Would “Save America”—Before The Prototype Was Even Fired

The hype from people hoping to get rich on smart gun technology continued at the 2016 International Smart Gun Symposium when San Francisco investor Ron Conway told a teenage inventor, “Congratulations. You are going to save America.”

Conway’s proclamation was premature: Six months later, 19-year-old Kai Kloepfer invited a Wall Street Journal reporter for the first firing ever of his prototype. However, while showing the reporter how he had embedded a fingerprint sensor into the grip of a Glock 22, he pulled some wires loose and had to return to his parents’ garage to resolder them. When he returned, the prototype did fire—after a second and a half delay, and only if shooter’s clean, dry middle finger remains in the same place. In a further limitation of the gun’s usefulness, the technology reduces magazine capacity from 15 rounds to 9.

Conway said, “This is possible. It just has to be mass-produced.” However, there are bigger hurdles for this still-unreliable, expensive technology than just scaling it up for production.