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Biofire still using mainstrea media for marketing

AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane

Biofire is a “smart gun” manufacturer. They appear to be the first to bring a smart gun to market, which is huge for them.

However, there are problems with them.

For one thing, they’re not going to send any guns out to gun journalists for testing and evaluation. This is where all those reviews come from, after all, and the fact that they’re not in a position to send them out is…troubling.

Yet Biofire doesn’t appear to be concerned. They’ll just use the mainstream media to market for them instead.

For a generation, the concept of a gun that can only be fired by its rightful owner was seen as something of a holy grail for gun safety. Efforts to develop the technology were launched, and the state of New Jersey even went so far to build a law around the concept — long before development efforts bore fruit.

Now, a Colorado-based weapons startup believes it has found a way forward for a nation where many are searching for anything that could help lower the toll of gun violence.

“We have something that’s actually going to, for the first time ever, deliver on that promise of a firearm that only works for you,” said Kai Kloepfer, the founder and CEO of BioFire Technologies.

The company launched its so-called “smart gun” last month, and demonstrated the weapon on ABC News Live “Prime.” The gun can be preordered now for $1,499, and the company plans to deliver to customers next year. A standard 9 mm Glock handgun costs around $500.

The concept behind BioFire’s weapon is straightforward: think smartphone security meets handgun. The weapon will fire normally as long as the user’s fingerprint or face is stored in its memory banks. For anyone else, the company says, the gun is little more than a paperweight.

The problem here is that mainstream media reporters don’t know guns. They don’t understand them, so they don’t know what questions to ask.

Now, they did have enough sense to get someone to “put the gun to the test,” as they put it.

However, it looks like this happened on a closed, indoor, climate-controlled range. One of the knocks on this kind of technology is that it might well not work when your fingers are covered in sweat. That test didn’t include that, nor was there any test of long-term reliability.

This is a $1,500 gun, after all. I want to know that I can shoot all day at the range without a bunch of malfunctions if I so desire.

Again, the mainstream media doesn’t know to do this. Not even their so-called firearms expert, necessarily. After all, his expertise is as a user, not necessarily as an evaluator.

But Biofire also probably figures they don’t need the gun media. They’d much rather push this into the popular culture by using the news to present this as some kind of answer.

Why do I think that? New Jersey.

Let’s not forget that this is a state that until recently had a law on the books that would allow only a gun of this type to be sold in the state the moment the technology became viable. They’ve since reworked the law due to the fact that it seemed no one was working on smart guns in part because they didn’t want to screw over the people of New Jersey.

Yet I can’t help but wonder if Biofire is hoping to corner the market in anti-gun states by making it seem this is the smart gun everyone there has been waiting for. How many states will make it so Biofire is all that’s available? Particularly if the mainstream media is acting as the company’s marketing arm.

Of course, that’s just speculation on my part based exclusively on the actions I’ve seen them take. It’s also possible they’re just a tech company that built a gun and don’t really understand how the firearm industry works. In truth, Occam’s Razor says that’s what’s behind Biofire’s actions.

Either way, it’s not doing much to build trust with the likely market for such a firearm.

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