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Silicon Valley Investors Create $1M Challenge To Boost Gun Safety

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — A group of Silicon Valley investors have launched a challenge with a $1 million prize for inventors to create new technologies to reduce gun violence.

The Smart Tech Foundation, a coalition of investors, launched the first of four competitions on Tuesday. Rather than rely on gun control measures, the group hopes the inventions would give consumers an option to make their weapons safer using technologies such as biometrics. For example, a gun could be unlocked using a fingerprint sensor.

“The purpose is to spur innovation and technology to come up with the best solutions possible and let the free market decide how to address the problem,” Margot Hirsh, president of the foundation, said.

CEO Ben Tomb, whose company, Salus Security Devices, is taking in the challenge and said they were moving forward with biometric lock.

“Gun manufacturers currently are not in favor of modifying their products so therefore by having a device which encapsulates the firing capability of the firearm, i.e., the magazine and the trigger with some kind of a cover that is locked by a biometric lock, we can secure firearms,” he said.

The device would also, he said, allow for a quick retrieval in an emergency.

The proposals for the first challenge will be accepted through the end of March. A panel will review proposals and allocate funds to what they think are the most promising ideas.

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