A gun safe manufacturer is recalling 61,000 gun safes after receiving a tragic report of a 12-year-old boy dying after opening a gun safe and being able to obtain a firearm.
The safes, manufactured by Fortress Safe of Naperville, Ill., contain a biometric fingerprint programming feature that can fail and allow unauthorized access, which prompted the recall. There have been 39 other reports from customers who stated that the safes could be opened by unpaired fingerprints, but were thought to be secure.
“As a gun owner with kids, this product failure is the nightmare scenario, the kind that we want to believe is not possible,” Richard L. Trumka Jr., commissioner of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, said in a statement. “It’s also the most concerning recall that’s ever come across my desk.”
Having an unsecured firearm in your home is dangerous, especially if you have children in the home. When it comes to gun safety in the home, the The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that “the safest home for children and teens is one without guns.”
However, approximately one-third of homes with children have a gun—many of them are stored loaded and/or unlocked.The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends safe firearm storage, which means “unloaded, locked up (lockbox, cable lock or firearm safe), with ammunition stored separately.”
Additionally, the AAP strongly suggests all parents ask about the presence of guns before allowing their child to spend time in someone’s home.
What to know about the gun safe recall
If you have one of the Fortress safes, the USCPSC recommends immediately disabling the biometric feature by puncturing it and removing the batteries. The safe will still function if you operate the device by key.
The recalled safes are portable lock boxes, personal safes, pistol vaults and gun cabinets with brand names including Fortress, Cabela’s, Gettysburg and Legend Range & Field. The safes were sold at Lowe’s, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Scheel’s, Sportsman’s Guide, Optics Planet, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Gander, Rural King as well as online at Amazon and eBay from January 2019 to October 2023 for $44 to $290.
Nine models of gun safes are included in the recall: 11B20, 44B10, 44B10L, 44B20, 55B20, 55B30, 55B30G, 4BGGBP and 55B30BP. Model numbers can be found above the barcode on a label on the back of the safe and on the top right corner of the original packaging. To obtain a replacement safe, consumers should call or Fortress Safe at 833-588-9181, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit fortresssafe.com.