Her invention was inspired by a personal tragedy where a 4-year-old family member shot herself with her grandfather's gun.
Gun safety is a crucial aspect of responsible gun ownership. It involves understanding the proper handling, storage and use of firearms to prevent accidents, injuries and deaths. However, for parents with children at home, it can sometimes become increasingly challenging to keep their firearms out of reach of the kids.
This was the danger Kayla Austin looked to address when she thought of something that can prove to be revolutionary for gun safety. Austin, a gun control activist and CEO and founder of "My Gun's Been Moved", invented a smart device that helps parents track and safeguard their firearms at home. Her invention aims to reduce gun violence, especially among children, reports In The Know.
Kayla Austin aids her community in the battle against gun violence with the help of the HU community and curriculum. She created the app My Gun's Been Moved, a proposed item that alerts gun owners when their weapons have been relocated via Bluetooth.— Howard University (@HowardU) April 4, 2023
📰 | https://t.co/nFIc35w2Kx pic.twitter.com/uUZuOe1vdI
Austin, who is currently a student at Howard University, was 12 when she created the device. She was motivated to find a solution for at-home gun regulation and safety by a personal tragedy that her family had experienced in the past.
"I had a family member who, when she was just 4 years old, shot herself with her grandfather’s gun," she explained. The child survived but the incident struck a cord. Austin added, "Hearing her story made me realize just how common these instances are, and it really made me want to find my own solution." Today, Austin aims to use her company as a platform to promote a form of gun control and activism that is often overlooked in mainstream discussions.
The idea for My Gun's Been Moved came to her when she was 12 years old while working on a project at a community-based program. Austin opted to investigate gun violence against youth since she felt it was not being discussed adequately. She created a gun safety device that takes the form of a pad, which can be positioned anywhere and allows parents to monitor their firearms through their phones.
"A lot of times you hear about mass shootings or gang violence so I feel that it’s my job to add accidental shootings and shootings involving children and teens in the home to that conversation. That is my ultimate goal," she explained.
If and when a gun is moved from Austin's innovative device, an alarm will sound and parents will receive a notification on their phone. Subsequently, they can choose to contact either an emergency contact or local law enforcement if they are unable to intervene in a timely manner.
Over the years, Austin has become a prominent figure in the gun control community through the development of My Gun's Been Moved. Despite the ongoing difficulties of managing the roles of a CEO and a full-time college student, she insists that she would not prefer it any other way. Austin added that she encountered difficulties long before college, largely due to her young age at the time of conceiving the idea.
She said, "I was so young, so a lot of people were dismissive of my ideas. I would say that’s been the hardest part of my journey. But I promised myself that I would stick it through and kind of build my network throughout the years." Austin's persistence eventually paid off as she obtained a $25,000 investment from Black Ambition, a venture led by Pharrell Williams. This investment played a significant role in filling the gap and providing her with much-needed mentorship. Along with her activism, Austin also aspires to inspire other young entrepreneurs to pursue their ideas through her own journey.
"I hope that I can just inspire other young girls, or young people around the country, if you have an idea, stick with it," she said. "Even if people don’t see your vision, if they don’t see what you’re trying to do [or] the impact of what you know your work will do, just stick with it and they’ll come on eventually."