Biometric gun safe recall issued after reported breaches, including 1 that allegedly left boy dead

ByMichelle Watson, CNN
Friday, October 20, 2023
Gun safes recalled after breach allegedly leaves 12-year-old boy dead
The Fortress safe for guns has been recalled after dozens of reported breaches, including 1 that allegedly left a boy dead.

CHICAGO -- Thousands of biometric gun safes are being recalled due to concerns they can allow unauthorized access, federal officials said, citing a lawsuit alleging a 12-year-old boy died from a firearm obtained from a breached safe.

More than 60,000 biometric safes - which use body-specific information to grant access - manufactured by Fortress Safe are under the recall notice after at least 39 reports of safes being accessed without the correct fingerprints, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission said Thursday. Such safes' brand names include Fortress, Cabela's, Gettysburg and Legend Range & Field, it said.

"Consumers can believe they have properly programmed the biometric feature when in fact the safe remains in the default to open mode, which can allow unauthorized users, including children, to access the safe to remove hazardous contents, including firearms," the commission said in the statement announcing the recall.

Most children who die from accidental shootings in America are playing around with guns at home or mistaking them for toys, a scientific study published this year found. Guns have been the leading cause of death for children and teenagers in the U.S. since surpassing car crashes in 2020.

Consumers are advised to stop using the biometric feature on recalled safes, remove the batteries and rely on the key for recalled safes used to store guns, the commission said.

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Fortress Safe posted a tutorial on YouTube explaining how to disable the biometric feature. A recall form is also available on the company's website to request a free replacement, CNN reported.

The recall includes portable lock boxes, personal safes, pistol vaults and gun cabinets and applies to safes purchased from January 2019 through October 2023 at Bass Pro Shops, Cabela's, Scheel's, Sportsman's Guide, Optics Planet, Dick's Sporting Goods, Gander, Rural King and Lowe's, as well as on Amazon and Ebay, according to the commission.

"Fortress Safe is aware of a recent lawsuit alleging that a 12-year-old boy died from a firearm obtained from one of these safes," the company said on its website without providing further details on the filing.

Scientists at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio examined instances in which children and teens accidentally shot themselves or another child, resulting in death. The research suggests that more than 90% of guns used in such shooting deaths were left unlocked and loaded.

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