David Tanos demonstrates an under seat-mounted shotgun or rifle storage system with RFID lock. Photo by Christine Carignan.
For responsible gun owners, the question is how to safely store a gun and still have ready access. “How should someone store a firearm so that it is an asset and not a liability?” asks David Tanos, co-founder and CEO of Tanosteel Weapon Security in Keene. To answer this, he and his business partner Charles Mothersele designed storage systems that provide quick access to a weapon when needed but prevent unauthorized use. At the same time, they are making consumer education a key component of their business model.
Tanosteel was a finalist at the NH Tech Alliance Tech Out competition last November, where Tanos showcased the company’s first product, QuikLok, a rapid access system that works by unlocking a handgun mount (pictured) with an RFID-enabled device such as a ring worn by the owner, a decal attached to the back of a cellphone, or a key fob.
RFID, or radio-frequency identification, is used in a number of industries and is commonly found in employee ID badges and key fobs used to access office buildings and other secure areas. Tanos’s system can also be unlocked with a key or a passcode when needed.
He says it’s essential that a customer creates an actionable security plan and choose an appropriate product to secure their gun. For example, an RFID cellphone sticker won’t be enough for gun owners with toddlers. “If you have a 2-year old at home, that’s a very different situation than if you’re a bachelor. If you leave your phone around, and the toddler can take it and use it, just as they have seen you use it, that’s a problem. Curiosity can lead to tragedy,” Tanos says.
Rapid access devices have been used by law enforcement and the military for years, but they were missing from the consumer market, he says. And while other companies make similar products, Tanos says those firms are not focused on education. “There are common practices that constitute safety breaches and using any type of gun security product—the best or the worst—won’t fix that. We’re supplementing our products with the educational materials on how to use any of these devices appropriately,” he says.
Tanosteel partnered with Cheshire County Shooting Sports Education Foundation to host an open discussion on key gun security considerations. Tanos anticipates doing more of these events.
The four cardinal rules of gun safety, he says, are: treat every firearm as if it’s loaded; never point at anything you’re not prepared to shoot or destroy; always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire; and know your target—what’s beyond it and what’s in front of it. “These are common knowledge but not common practice,” Tanos says.
Since Tech Out, Tanosteel was invited to Founders Live Boston-Tech and Startup Pitch event, and Tanos says he has received interest from investors.
Learn more at tanosteel.com.