As a teenager, Omer Kiyani was shot in the face with an unsecured firearm. He still struggles with the trauma. But the Detroit engineer now believes he has created a device that would have saved him and may save thousands of others.

He calls it “Identilock,” and while it still needs final adjustments to the prototype and further investment, Kiyani expects to launch his smart gun technology in U.S. stores within a year, retailing for around $300.

The device attaches to the trigger of a handgun, which can then only be unlocked by biometric authentication, preventing any unauthorized user from firing the weapon. Drawing on breakthroughs in mobile technology, the trigger is released by similar fingerprint sensors to those used in Apple’s iPhone 5S. Those sensors are approved by the FBI, and widely found in security scanners.

“The key is reliability,” says Kiyani. “The sensor has proved itself in different sectors over the past few years and the market is aware of its capability.”