Title:
Gun lock
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This invention relates to a gun lock, a device for locking a gun or parts thereof by securely situating the gun or parts thereof such as the trigger and the trigger guard between a gun lock base and a locking base. The gun lock base house a plurality of spring loaded pins for totally surrounding the gun or parts of the gun such as the trigger and/or the trigger guard when placed on top of the pins. The gun lock base pairs with a locking base housing a locking mechanism. The plurality of spring loaded pins covering the surface of a gun lock base immobilize the gun, trigger or trigger guard. The device can also be used to lock other objects in place aside from a gun or parts of the gun.



Inventors:
Sopko, Riley M. (Palos Verdes Estates, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/999873
Publication Date:
06/01/2006
Filing Date:
11/30/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F41A17/46
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KLEIN, GABRIEL J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Maria Erlinda C. Sarno, Esq. (Artesia, CA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A device for locking a gun, comprising: a gun lock base having a top surface and a bottom surface, the top surface comprising a plurality of spring loaded pins covering the top surface of the gun lock base, the plurality of spring loaded pins automatically surrounding and immobilizing a gun or parts thereof placed on the top surface; a locking base; and, means for locking or unlocking the gun or parts thereof between the gun lock base and the locking base.

2. The device of claim 1 wherein the plurality of spring loaded pins compress or release according to pressure exerted by the gun or parts thereof.

3. The device of claim 1 wherein the gun is locked mechanically.

4. The device of claim 1 wherein the gun is locked electronically.

5. The device of claim 1 wherein the gun lock base includes a locking post with locking teeth for engagement with an engagement tooth on the locking base when the device is in the lock position.

6. The device of claim 5 wherein the engagement of the locking teeth with the engagement tooth is controlled mechanically by a key locking cylinder operated by a key.

7. The device of claim 5 wherein the engagement of the locking teeth with the engagement tooth is controlled electronically by an electronic logic board communicating with a solenoid assembly.

8. A device for locking a gun, a gun lock, comprising: a gun lock base having a top surface and a bottom surface, the top surface comprising a plurality of spring loaded pins covering the top surface of the gun lock base, the plurality of spring loaded pins automatically surrounding and immobilizing a gun or parts thereof placed on the top surface; a locking post protruding from the gun lock base, the locking post having locking teeth; a locking base comprising a latch plate having an engagement tooth for engagement with the locking teeth of the locking post; and, means for keeping the plurality of pins on the top surface and allowing the plurality of pins to recess to or release from the top surface of the gun lock base according to pressure exerted by the gun or parts thereof placed on the top surface; means for locking the gun or parts thereof between the gun lock base and the locking base after engaging the engagement tooth on the latch plate with the locking teeth on the locking post; and, means for unlocking the gun or parts thereof from the gun lock base and the locking base.

9. The device of claim 8 wherein each pin of the plurality of spring loaded pins are held by a channel of a plurality of channels or placed between interwoven strips of material on the gun lock base.

10. The device of claim 9 wherein each spring loaded pin is kept inside the channel or between the interwoven strips of material on the gun lock base by an annular stopper on top of a spring enveloped portion of the pin and a plate placed over the annular stopper.

11. The device of claim 8 further comprising a cover placed on the top surface of the gun lock base to prevent surface scratching between the gun lock base and the gun or parts thereof.

12. The device of claim 11 wherein the cover has holes corresponding to each spring loaded pin thereby allowing all the spring loaded pins to go through the cover.

13. The device of claim 11 wherein the cover is made of a rubber based material or soft flexible plastic material.

14. The device of claim 11 wherein the cover has a smooth inner surface and a roughened outer surface.

15. The device of claim 8 further comprising a cam boss on the latch plate and a key locking cylinder having a cam head on the locking base, the cam boss and the cam head abutting each other when the device is in a lock position.

16. The device of claim 8 wherein a portion of the latch plate is enveloped with a spring to temporarily engage or release the engagement tooth from the locking teeth of the locking post.

17. The device of claim 8 wherein the engagement tooth of the latch plate is retractable.

18. The device of claim 8 wherein the locking mechanism is mechanical.

19. The device of claim 18 wherein the gun or parts thereof is locked between the gun lock base and the locking base by a key locking cylinder operated by a key after engaging the engagement tooth on the latch plate with the locking teeth on the locking post.

20. The device of claim 8 further comprising a cover plate to prevent undesired movement of the latch plate.

21. The device of claim 20 further comprising a pad placed on top of the cover plate to prevent surface scratching between the locking base and the gun or parts thereof.

22. The device of claim 21 wherein the pad is made of a rubber based material or soft flexible plastic material.

23. The device of claim 21 wherein the pad has a smooth inner surface and a roughened outer surface.

24. The device of claim 8 wherein the locking mechanism is electronic.

25. The device of claim 24 wherein the gun or parts thereof is electronically locked between the gun lock base and the locking base by a solenoid assembly communicating with an electronic logic board, the solenoid assembly having a pin lodging on a solenoid receiver on the latch plate after engaging the engagement tooth on the latch plate with the locking teeth on the locking post.

26. The device of claim 25 wherein the device is unlocked by an entry of a code.

27. The device of claim 8 wherein the gun lock is powered by a battery.

28. The device of claim 27 wherein the gun lock is powered by an auxilliary battery when the power of the battery of claim 27 has lost its charge.

29. The device of claim 8 further comprising a cable threading through the gun barrel, magazine or chamber and means for placing the cable between the gun lock base and the locking base.

30. The device of claim 29 wherein the cable is placed between the gun lock base and the locking base by a retainer connected to the cable introduced into the locking post, the cable locking with the gun or parts thereof when the gun or parts thereof are locked between the gun lock base and the locking base.

31. A method for mechanically locking or unlocking an object, a gun or parts thereof, between a gun lock base and a locking base, the gun lock base comprising a plurality of spring loaded pins on a top surface of the gun lock base and a locking post having locking teeth, the locking base comprising a latch plate having an engagement tooth and a cam boss, a key locking cylinder having a cam head operated by a key, comprising the steps of: a) placing the object on top of the gun lock base; b) automatically surrounding and immobilizing the object on the top surface by the plurality of spring loaded pins; c) pairing the gun lock base with the locking base by introducing the locking post into the locking base; d) engaging the engagement tooth on the latch plate with the locking teeth on the locking post; e) locking the object between the gun lock base and the locking base by abutting the cam head connected to the key locking cylinder with the cam boss on the latch plate through a turn of the key on the key locking cylinder; and, f) unlocking the object from the gun lock base and the locking base by turning the key on a direction opposite a direction for locking the object and releasing the engagement tooth from the locking teeth.

32. A method for electronically locking or unlocking an object, a gun or parts thereof, between a gun lock base and a locking base, the gun lock base comprising a plurality of spring loaded pins on a top surface of the gun lock base and a locking post having locking teeth, the locking base comprising a solenoid assembly having a solenoid pin, a latch plate having an engagement tooth and a solenoid receiver, an electronic logic board communicating with the solenoid assembly operated by a touching pad, comprising the steps of: a) placing the object on a top surface of the gun lock base; b) automatically surrounding and immobilizing the object on the top surface by the plurality of spring loaded pins; c) pairing the gun lock base with the locking base by introducing the locking post into the locking base; d) engaging the engagement tooth on the latch plate with the locking teeth on the locking post; e) locking the object between the gun lock base and the locking base by lodging the solenoid pin into the solenoid receiver; and, f) unlocking the object from the gun lock base and the locking base by entry of a code on the touching pad to dislodge the solenoid pin from the solenoid receiver and releasing the engagement tooth from the locking teeth.

Description:

BACKGROUND

This invention relates to a gun lock, a device for locking a gun or parts thereof by securely situating the gun or parts thereof such as the trigger and the trigger guard between a gun lock base and a locking base. The gun lock base house a plurality of spring loaded pins, herein also simply referred to as pin, for totally surrounding the gun or parts of the gun such as the trigger and/or the trigger guard when placed on top of the pins. The gun lock base in the example herein pairs with a locking base housing a latch plate for locking the gun lock when an engagement tooth on the latch plate engages with the locking teeth on the locking posts situated on the gun lock base. The plurality of spring loaded pins covering the surface of a gun lock base to immobilize the gun, trigger or trigger guard is an aspect of this invention that can be implemented with other locking bases to improve their performance. The claimed device can also be used to lock other objects in place aside from a gun or parts of the gun.

Due to the rise of burglaries and other violent crimes occurring in residences, more and more civilians are purchasing handguns to defend themselves. Thousands of shotguns and rifles are purchased each year not only for home protection but also for sports such as hunting, trap and skeet shooting and the like. Most of these deadly weapons, collectively referred to herein simply as gun or guns, are stored in residences, mostly in areas like the drawers, closets or under the bed. Although adults usually lock the drawer or closet where the gun is stored, history has proven that this has not prevented unauthorized use of the gun. Children and adolescents always seem to find them and their curiosity at times have cost human lives resulting from the accidental discharge of the gun. Some have also used it intentionally, judging from the number of suicides and murders, for example, the use of the gun against classmates and teachers in schools. There is therefore a need for a good gun lock and users should not wait until they are required by laws mandating the use of a gun lock because the responsibility of owning a gun should include the responsibility of preventing its unauthorized use.

This problem has been recognized in the design of several gun locks. Several of these designs manually place restraining pins one by one to prevent the movement of the trigger or prevent the movement of a locking device. Most of these designs require time to place the pins which encourage one to resort to the traditional way of just hiding the gun without the gun lock. U.S. Pat. No. 5,437,119 propose the use of pins to prevent trigger movement and aid in the positioning of a trigger blocking structure relative to the trigger and the trigger guard. The proposed pins herein, as stated, have to be manually placed by the user into the user selected conical entrance section of the pin holes. This requires time since one or two pins are always not enough to prevent the trigger movement. Other patents, U.S. Pat. No. 5,918,402 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,457,272 uses the same concept as U.S. Pat. No. 5,437,119 of selecting and manually placing pins that extend through two opposing body members holding the trigger in between. None of these inventions provide an array of spring loaded pins that would restrain a gun, a trigger and or a trigger head at whatever position it is laid between the opposing bodies. U.S. Pat. No. 5,392,552 even if it uses a spring loaded pin, this is used to prevent a locking assembly from shifting relative to the trigger guard because of a locking member that protrudes from the locking plate which will hit the trigger if the locking plate accidentally shifts. The spring loaded pin act as a spacer by having the tip of the spring loaded pin extend out perpendicularly from the locking plate and abut at the surface of the housing opposite the locking plate. The shifting is prevented by the frictional force between the planar tip of the pin and a planar surface of the housing. Additionally, since the pins are used as a spacer, the gun should always be carefully positioned in such a way that there are pins between the locking member and the trigger. Further, wear and tear between the tip of the pin and the surface of the locking plate may loosen and eventually allow some shifting between the locking plate and the housing. The implementation of a plurality of spring loaded pins of the claimed invention for automatically preventing the movement of the trigger or trigger guard may be incorporated in the above cited patented inventions as an improvement.

It is an object of this invention to provide pins that need no manual selection and placement to protect and provide automatic immobilization of the trigger and the trigger guard.

It is also an object of this invention to provide a gun lock that can be operated safely and quickly.

It is a further object of this invention to provide a locking mechanism that is simple in design but securely locks the gun between the gun lock base and the locking base.

It is also a further object of this invention to provide a mechanism for opening an electronically triggered gun lock when the power supplied from a battery is consumed.

SUMMARY

This invention relates to a device for locking a gun, a gun lock, comprising a gun lock base having a top surface and a bottom surface, the top surface comprising a plurality of spring loaded pins covering the top surface of the gun lock base, the plurality of spring loaded pins automatically surrounding and immobilizing a gun or parts thereof placed on the top surface; a locking base; and, means for locking the gun or parts thereof between the gun lock base and the locking base. The plurality of spring loaded pins recess or release according to the pressure exerted by the object, herein a gun or parts thereof. The gun lock can include a locking post with locking teeth protruding from the gun lock base for engagement with an engagement tooth on the locking base when the device is in the lock position. The device can be locked or unlocked mechanically or electronically. The object such as the gun or parts thereof is sandwiched between the gun lock base and the locking base before locking the device. An example of a locking base suitable for pairing with the gun lock base comprises a latch plate having an engagement tooth for engagement with the locking teeth of the locking post. For a quick immobilization of the object, the plurality of pins on the top surface should be allowed to recess to or release from the top surface of the gun lock base according to the pressure exerted by the gun or parts thereof placed on top of the pins or on the top surface of the gun lock base. Each pin of the plurality of spring loaded pins are held by a channel of a plurality of channels or placed between interwoven strips of material on the gun lock base. Each spring loaded pin is kept inside the channel or between the interwoven strips of material on the gun lock base by an annular stopper on top of a spring enveloped portion of the pin and a plate placed over the annular stopper. A cover may be placed on the top of the plate to prevent surface scratching between the gun lock base and the gun or parts thereof. The cover has holes corresponding to each channel housing a spring loaded pin thereby allowing all the spring loaded pins to go through the cover. The cover is usually made of a rubber based material or soft flexible plastic material. It is recommended for the cover to have a smooth inner surface and a roughened outer surface. In this gun lock base and locking base pair that are locked mechanically, the latch plate has a cam boss and the key locking cylinder has a cam head. The cam boss and the cam head are made to abut each other when the device is locked. To prevent undesired movement of the latch plate, a cover plate may be placed on top of the latch plate. As in the gun lock base above, a pad may also be placed on top of the cover plate to prevent surface scratching between the locking base and the gun or parts thereof. The pad is similar to the cover of the gun lock base except that the pad does not have holes.

For a gun lock device that is operated electronically, instead of a key locking cylinder, the locking mechanism utilizes a solenoid assembly communicating with an electronic logic board, the solenoid assembly having a solenoid pin lodging on a solenoid receiver on the latch plate after engaging the engagement tooth on the latch plate with the locking teeth on the locking post. The device is unlocked by an entry of a code.

The locking mechanism can be reinforced with a cable threading through the gun barrel or magazine or chamber of the gun.

A method for mechanically locking and unlocking an object, a gun or parts thereof, between a gun lock base and a locking base described above, comprises placing the object on the top surface of the gun lock base; automatically surrounding and immobilizing the object on the top surface by the plurality of spring loaded pins; pairing the gun lock base with the locking base by introducing the locking post into the locking base; engaging an engagement tooth on the latch plate-with the locking teeth on the locking post; locking the object between the gun lock base and the locking base by abutting the cam head connected to the key locking cylinder with the cam boss on the latch plate through a turn of the key on the key locking cylinder; and, unlocking the object from the gun lock base and the locking base by turning the key on a direction opposite a direction for locking the object and releasing the engagement tooth from the locking teeth.

A method for electronically locking an object, a gun or parts thereof, between a gun lock base and a locking base controlled electronically as described above, comprises: placing the object on the top surface of the gun lock base; automatically surrounding and immobilizing the object on the top surface by the plurality of spring loaded pins; pairing the gun lock base with the locking base by introducing the locking post into the locking base; engaging an engagement tooth on the latch plate with the locking teeth on the locking post; locking the object between the gun lock base and the locking base by lodging a solenoid pin of the solenoid assembly into a solenoid receiver; and, unlocking the object from the gun lock base and the locking base by entry of a code on the touching pad to dislodge the solenoid pin from the solenoid receiver and releasing the engagement tooth from the locking teeth.

Other embodiments of the present invention will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description, wherein it shows and describes only certain embodiments of the invention by way of illustration. As will be realized, the invention is capable of other and different embodiments and its several details are capable of modification in various other respects, all without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Accordingly, the drawings and detailed description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature and not as restrictive.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

Aspects of the present invention are illustrated by way of example, and not by way of limitation, in the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the gun lock with the gun lock base and the two types of locking bases.

FIG. 1A is a detailed view of the pins as they actually exist in the gun lock base.

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the components and assembly of the gun lock base.

FIG. 3 is a front view of a pin on a spring as it is assembled inside each channel of the nest located inside the holder of the gun lock base.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the attachment of a mechanical cam to a key locking cylinder inside a hollow housing.

FIG. 4A is an exploded view of the components and assembly of a mechanical locking base.

FIG. 4B is a perspective view of the latch plate with one side of the arm enveloped with a spring.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view showing a latch plate attached to the hollow holder of the locking base with the cam head abutting the cam boss of the latch plate.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an electronic locking base showing the solenoid, electronic logic board, battery and slit for the auxiliary battery contact points.

FIG. 6A is an exploded view of the components and assembly of an electronic locking base.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a latch plate with retractable engagement teeth.

FIG. 7A is an exploded view of a retractable engagement tooth attached to the latch plate.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a latch plate having engagement teeth in a lock position.

FIG. 8A is a perspective view of a latch plate having engagement teeth in an unlock position.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a locking cable.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The detailed description represented-herein is not intended to represent the only way or the only embodiment in which the claimed invention may be practiced. The description herein is provided merely as an example or examples or illustrations of the claimed invention and should not be construed as the only way or as preferred or advantageous over other embodiments or means of practicing the invention. Any means of surrounding an object, herein a trigger and a trigger guard as examples, with a plurality of pins that automatically recess proportionately according to the pressure exerted by the object, usually its weight, is within the scope of this invention. In the example of the claimed gun lock herein, the restraining function of the plurality of pins automatically surrounding the trigger and/or the trigger guard on the gun lock base is coupled with a locking mechanism utilizing a latching plate with at least one engagement tooth for engaging with a corresponding locking teeth controlled by either a locking cylinder in a mechanical operation or a solenoid assembly in an electronic operation. Consequently, adaptations of the latch plate described is also within the scope of this invention. It is to be appreciated, however, that the claimed pins on the gun lock base by themselves or the latch plate mechanism by itself can not independently do the intended function. Their respective functions have to be coordinated with each other or one paired with another device modified to function synchronously with either the pins or the latch plate. The detailed description includes specific details to provide a thorough understanding of the claimed invention and it is apparent to those skilled in the art that the claimed invention may be practiced without these specific details. In some instances, well known structures and devices are shown in block diagrams or drawn with broken lines in order to avoid obscuring the main concepts of the invention.

The gun lock device comprises two major parts, a gun lock base 1 and a locking base 2 as shown in FIG. 1. The parts of the gun lock, unless specifically stated, is recommended to be made of zinc die cast, painted or plated in a suitable color or texture. Alternatively, this can be made of injection molded plastic. The locking base 2 includes components that locks or unlocks the gunlock either mechanically through the use of a key 3 or electronically through the entry of secret code, usually a number or letter, a series of numbers or letters, or a combination of these on a touching pad 4.

The components of the gun lock base illustrated here includes a hollow holder, a nest, spring loaded pins, a plate and an optional cover. The hollow holder 5 has a planar back panel or bottom surface and at least one locking post 6 protruding from the inside wall of the back panel or bottom surface at a location where the locking teeth 7 on the locking post 6 can engage with an engagement tooth/teeth 8 on a latch plate 9. The locking posts could be molded in place or it could be made up of two separate metal parts, fastened or pinned in place. The metals that can be used are injection molded zinc die cast, steel, aluminum, brass or even injection molded plastic. Although two locking posts are illustrated in the drawings, one locking post is sufficient or more than two locking posts are also possible. A nest 10, a block having the same outside lateral contour as the inside wall of the hollow holder 5, is introduced, fits into and fills the open space of the hollow holder. Alternately, the nest and the hollow holder can be one piece. The nest could be plastic injection molded. An alternative would be to construct the nest like an egg crate made from strips of material that are interwoven. The material could be plastic or metal. The top surface of the nest rests colinearly with the peripheral lip 11 at the tip of the hollow holder 5. The nest 10 or the gun lock base, if the hollow holder and nest are in one piece, has an opening 12 to accommodate a protruding locking post 6 and also consists of a plurality of cylindrical channels 13 arranged in an array of rows and columns as shown in FIGS. 1A and 2 to hold a plurality of spring loaded pins. The cylindrical channels can also be randomly arranged such as between the interwoven strips of material so long as it covers the top space of the gun lock base that is not occupied by the locking posts. A spring 14 with a coil diameter slightly less than the diameter of the channel is introduced into each and every channel. A pin 15 with an annular stopper 16 is then inserted at each circular top opening 17 of the spring until the top opening of the spring abuts the annular stopper, that is, the spring locates below the annular stopper 16. The pins occupy all the channels as shown in FIG. 1A. These spring loaded pins can be made of several materials. They can be made of glass reinforced injection molded or machined plastic or machined metal, plated or painted zinc die cast, painted or plated injection molded zinc die cast, steel, aluminum, brass or even injection molded plastic. The annular stopper 16 is located proximal to the bottom of the pin 15 to keep only a certain length 18 or portion of the pin enveloped within the spring and leave the remaining length 19 or portion of the spring free to compress and release according to the pressure exerted by the object on top of the pins as shown in FIG. 3. To keep the pin 15 from disengaging from the spring 14, a plate 20 having identical pattern of holes 21 as the channels 13 on the nest 10 goes over all the pins 15 and rests on top of the peripheral lip 11 of the holder 5 and on the top surface of the nest 10. The plate 20 is usually a stamped metal and is engaged to the holder by staking posts 22, a series of short pins that protrude from the peripheral lip 11 snugly fitting into matching staking holes 23 on the plate 20 and flattened down to permanently attach the plate in position. The staking posts are usually placed at each side of the peripheral lip for balance and for preventing the plate from slipping away from the holder 5. Small screws or rivets can also be used instead of staking posts to engage the plate to the holder 5. The plate 20 situates on top of the annular stoppers 16 of the pins 15, thereby keeping all the bottom portion 18 of the pins secured in place inside each of their respective channel or between the interwoven strips of material after the plate is engaged with the holder 5. With this set up, any pressure exerted on top of the pin, usually by the weight of the object, will compress the spring and depress the pin into the channel and when the pressure is released, the spring inside the channel will relax and the top portion 24 of the pin above the annular stopper 16 will pop or spring out of the channel and the plate. The annular ring 16 prevents the entire pin to pop out of the plate 20 and also prevent the spring to envelope the entire pin. The plate 20 forms the top surface of the gun lock base where an object can be placed. When a trigger and trigger guard is laid on top of the plate filled with these pins, all the pins pressed by the trigger and/or the trigger guard will automatically depress and the pins not pressed by these stay erect on top of the plate and surrounds the trigger and the trigger guard thereby preventing them from moving. It is to be noted that not all of the pins will completely depress into its respective channels. If portions of the trigger or trigger guard do not abut the plate, a corresponding portion of the pins directly below this non-abutting portions of the trigger or trigger head will stay on top of the plate and abut at that part of the trigger or trigger guard not abutting the plate. This prevents not only the sideways motion but also any wobbling motion of the gun once the trigger and the trigger head are placed on top of the plate. While the pins 15 and the channels 13 illustrated here are cylindrical in shape, they can be of any geometric shape so long as they can easily recess or retract upon the application of pressure and spring back when the pressure is released. The ability to use pins of different geometric shapes is an advantage provided by having a plurality of pins covering the surface of the gun lock base. If there are only a few pins, there is a big chance of not maximizing surface to surface contact between the few pins and the object to be restrained. The gun lock base comprising a plurality of spring loaded pins that automatically restrains and immobilize an object placed on top of the spring loaded pins as described herein can be coupled or paired with any locking base or plate to keep the object, herein a gun or parts thereof especially the trigger, securely sandwiched or locked between the gun lock base and the locking base or plate.

Before placement of the trigger and trigger guard on top of the plate, a cover 25 made of rubber based material or soft flexible plastic material such as silicone, stretchable rubber or urethane injection molded material is recommended to be placed on top of the plate 20 to prevent scratching their respective surfaces. The cover have holes 26 identical to the holes 21 of the plate which are above the channels 13 on the nests. The holes 26 allow all the pins protruding from the plate 20 to now protrude over the cover. The inner surface of the cover is smooth and lays flat on top of the plate. The outer surface 28 of the cover, however is preferably rough, roughened for example by small spikes 27 between the array of holes 26, to provide additional restraint of motion on the object placed on top of the cover 25 by the frictional force between the spikes and the object, herein the trigger and the trigger guard. The cover is held or anchored on top of the plate, for example, through an inward indentation 29 at the inner surface of the lateral sides of the cover accommodating the protruding side edges of the holder 5 and the plate 20 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 1A.

A gun lock base 1 herein pairs with a locking base 2 that is operated either by a key or electronically by a solenoid following a correct entry of a secret code.

A locking base operated mechanically by a key 3 is assembled by introducing a key locking cylinder 30 into an opening 31 of a hollow housing 32 having a planar face 33 and a hollow interior 34. The key and the key locking cylinder are off the shelf items, that is, commercially available. Before the key locking cylinder is placed at the opening 31, a flat label 35 identifying the product such as a trademark, the manufacturer, etc. may be placed or attached to the planar face 33 of the hollow housing 32. To secure the key locking cylinder to the housing 32, a hex nut 36 is screwed into matching grooves 37 of the key locking cylinder. It is best to flip the housing during this assembly to facilitate access to the key locking cylinder as shown in FIG. 4. A mechanical cam 38 having a flat ring 39 on one end and a cam head 40 on the other end is placed on top of the key locking cylinder end 41, the end facing the interior of the housing 32 opposite the key hole 42 with the ring 39 sitting on the end 41 and held in place by a screw 43 threaded through the interior of the key locking cylinder 30 as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. The locking cam 38 could be either stamped and formed sheet metal for example brass, steel or stainless steel, or injection molded zinc die cast metal or plastic.

The hollow housing 32 of the mechanical locking base 2 has three cuts 44 on the ends of the lateral sides 45 opposite the planar face 33. These cuts extends into the bottom peripheral edge of the housing 32 as shown in FIG. 4. A latch plate 9, usually planar or flat, is set into place on these cuts 44. The latch plate is usually made of the same material as the as the locking cam. The latch plate 9 has a horizontal arm 46 with a diagonal strip 47 extending from the arm 46. The opposite ends of the arm 46 situates on the two opposite cuts while the diagonal strip 47 is held on the third cut through a horizontal strip 48 connected to the diagonal strip 47 as shown in FIG. 5. The diagonal strip 47 has a cam boss 49 situated above the ring 39 and proximal to the mechanical cam 38. A cover plate 50 is placed on top of the latch plate 9 and secured by screws 60. The placement of the cover plate 50 prevent undesired movement of the latch plate not prompted by a push on the latch plate, spring actions on the latch plate or a specific directional turn of the key 3 on the key locking cylinder 30 which locks or unlocks the device. The cover 50 can be made of injection molded zinc die cast metal or plastic, or cast powdered metal brass, aluminum, steel or stainless steel. The inner surface, one facing the latch plate, of the cover plate 50 has an etching 51 corresponding to the shape of the latch plate, to facilitate the positioning of the cover plate on top of the latch plate. Additionally, the latch plate can have one engagement tooth coupled with a locking teeth on a locking post. Alternately, there can be more than one engagement tooth, for example, two engagement teeth 8, one located on the horizontal arm and the other on the rear end of the diagonal strip for engagement with matching locking teeth 7 on the locking posts 6 of the gun lock base 1. The contour of the side surface of the cover plate 50 matches the contour of the inside surface of the hollow housing 32 such that when the cover plate is inserted into the housing 32, the planar outside surface or back 52 of the cover plate align colinearly with the peripheral lip 53 of the hollow housing 32 situated opposite the planar face 33. The cover plate has openings to allow entry of a locking post into the locking base. In the example shown in the drawing, there are two openings 54 to allow entry of the locking posts 6 protruding from the gun lock base 1 into the interior of the locking base 2 once the two bases are matched or paired after the placement of the trigger and trigger head between them. The cover plate is secured in place by screws. Like the cover 25 of the gun lock base, it is recommended to put a similar cover on the locking base, herein identified as pad 55 for distinction purposes. The pad 55, like cover 25, is also made of rubber based materials or soft flexible plastic materials such as stretchable rubber or urethane injection molded materials and is placed on top of the planar outside surface or back 52 of the locking base. Like cover 25, the pad 55 prevents scratching of the objects placed on top of the locking base 2 and it also has a smooth inner surface and preferably but not necessarily a rough outer surface, herein, as example, comprising a plurality of small spikes 56 similar to cover 25, the rough surface providing additional restraint of movement between the object and the locking base. However, unlike cover 25, the pad 55 has no holes to accommodate the pins. The pad 55 is also anchored or held on top of the back 52 of the cover plate 50 by an inward indentation at the inner surface of the lateral sides of the pad accommodating the protruding side edges of the housing 32. Other ways of attaching a pad is also possible.

To lock a gun in place using the above mechanical gun lock, the trigger 57 and the trigger guard 58 is laid on top of the gun lock base 1. This will cause the spring loaded pins 15 present on all areas on the top surface of the gun lock base not occupied by the trigger and the trigger guard and in this example, by the locking post, to automatically surround the trigger and the trigger guard. To show position of the trigger and the trigger guard relative to the pins, FIG. 1 although it should, does not show all the pins surrounding the trigger and the trigger guard. Immobilization or restraint by the surrounding pins as claimed can be visualized by combining FIG. 1 with FIG. 1A, the latter showing the gun lock base with all the channels 13 occupied by the pins 15. Unlike the prior art, in the claimed invention, the user need not put the pins manually on the user selected holes. Further, it does not matter where the locking posts are located on the locking base or relative to the trigger and the trigger guard because the pins are of such diameter that would allow them to go between the locking posts and the trigger or between any object placed on top of the gun lock base. The automatic restraint provided by the plurality of pins which automatically surround the trigger, tremendously cuts the time to lock a gun compared to manually putting one pin at a time around the trigger and/or trigger guard. Consequently, this prevent laziness, negligence and procrastination on the part of the user. Once the trigger and the trigger guard are in place, the locking base 2 is paired with the gun lock base through the entry of the locking posts 6 on the gun lock base into the corresponding openings 54 at the locking base until the tip of the locking posts touches on the inner surface of the planar face 33 of the of the locking base. The latch plate 9 should be in the unlock position during the pairing of the gun lock base with the locking base to keep the engagement teeth 8 away from the locking teeth 7 unless one end of the arm 46 is enveloped or wrapped around with a spring as shown in FIG. 4B which will allow the latch plate to be pushed temporarily in the unlock position while the locking posts situates on the locking base. There are other ways of incorporating a spring mechanism. Further, the tips of the pins of the gun lock base touches the pad or cover plate of the locking base. If a pad is used, the tips are oriented between the spikes 56 on pad 55 of the locking base 2 for further restraint and protection from scratches. After pairing of the gun lock base with the locking base, the latch plate is placed on the lock position by pushing the horizontal arm 46 against the direction of the imprinted arrow 59 on the arm 46 which engages the engagement tooth on the latch plate with the locking teeth on the locking post, that is, the engagement tooth inserts between two adjacent teeth of the locking post as shown in FIG. 8. In this example, the gun is locked in place by abutting the cam head 40 on the cam boss 49 as shown in FIG. 5. This lock position correspond to a certain orientation of the key 3 on the key locking cylinder 30. The key turns the cam head 40 into or away from the cam boss 49. Unlocking the gun lock is done simply by turning the key on the opposite direction used for locking to release the cam head from the cam boss and pushing the arrow towards the imprinted direction to release the engagement teeth from the locking teeth.

An electronically operated locking base 2 pairs with the same gun lock base and uses the same hollow housing 32 for its assembly. The electronic locking base will be identified by elocking base 2′ for differentiation. An example of an elocking base is shown here. The elocking base 2′ is assembled by placing a touching pad 4, a number or letter pad or a combination of these, into an etched surface 61, on the planar face 33 of the housing 32 as shown in FIGS. 4A and 6A. The etched surface 61 is shaped to accommodate the shape of the pad. The touching pad 4 has a cable 62 which is introduced into a cable slot 63 located at the bottom of the planar face 33. A solenoid assembly 64, the counterpart of the key locking cylinder, is placed within the space 65 bordered by three swaged posts 66 in triangular orientation protruding from the inside surface of the hollow housing 32. The solenoid assembly 64 is staked with the swaged post 66 until the post 66 flares outwardly, pushing on the surface of the solenoid, to keep the solenoid assembly in place. Other means of placing the solenoid assembly within the housing 32 can be used. The solenoid assembly usually includes a solenoid plunger or pin 67, a solenoid coil 68 and a solenoid spring 69. Suitable solenoid assemblies for the gun lock are commercially available from solenoid vendors, for example, from Rytan Incorporated, 455 Maple Avenue, Torrance, Calif. An electronic logic board 71 held on a housing, also typically made of plated or painted injection molded zinc die cast metal or plastic, is connected or situates below the cable 62. Touching pad 4 is electronically connected to the logic board 71 through the cable 62 pressed into a connector on the logic board or soldered in place at the logic board after the logic board is secured in place on the housing 32. The electronic logic board 71 has a double backed adhesive 75 for securing the logic board at the back panel of the housing 32. The circuit of the electronic board faces the interior of the housing as shown in FIG. 6. The board 71 also includes a pair of external battery contacts 72 for use with an auxiliary battery 73. An auxiliary battery is used to operate the gun lock when the internal battery 74 has lost its charge. The internal battery as shown in FIGS. 6 and 6A is a standard 9 volt battery but other 9 volt batteries can be used as well. The electronic logic board has one socket for connection with the solenoid prong and another socket for connection with the internal battery. After attachment of the electronic logic board, the two contact points 72 at the end of the electronic circuit board, extends out of the housing 32 through a corresponding slit or slot 70 located at a lateral side of the housing 32 as shown in FIG. 6 to expose the contact points for connection to an auxiliary 9 volt battery which will supply temporary power to the elocking base 2′ when needed. After the circuitry is completed and attached to the housing 32, the latch plate 9, similar to the mechanical locking base 2, is set into place on the three cuts 44 at the ends of the lateral sides 45 opposite the planar face 33. A difference between the mechanical and the electronic locking base or elocking base is the presence of a solenoid receiver 76 on the elocking base 2′. However, for manufacturing purposes, a latch plate with a solenoid receiver can be used for both mechanical and electrical locking bases because the presence of the solenoid receiver 76 will not hamper the operation of the mechanical locking mechanism. The solenoid receiver 76 is located on top of the horizontal arm 46 of the latch plate 9. Obviously, here and in the mechanical locking mechanism, the respective positions and or locations of the parts can be moved as long as the connections and the relationships of the parts to each other are maintained. The solenoid pin 67 sits inside the solenoid receiver when the gun lock is in the lock position as shown in FIG. 6A. A cover plate 50 is placed on top of the latch plate and likewise, a pad 55, if desired, covers the surface of the elocking base 21. The details on the latch plate, cover plate and pad has been previously described above and will not be reiterated.

The operation of the electronic gun lock is the same as the mechanical gun lock. The only difference is on the device that locks or releases the latch plate from engagement with the locking posts. The mechanical gun lock uses the key locking cylinder while the electronic gun lock uses the solenoid assembly. As in the mechanical gun lock, to lock a gun, the trigger and the trigger guard are laid on top of the gun lock base which will cause the spring loaded pins to automatically surround the trigger and the trigger guard. The elocking base 2′ is then paired with the gun lock base similar to the mechanical gun lock with the elocking base in the unlock position unless one arm of the latch plate is enveloped by a spring as described above, in which case, the elocking base 2′ can be in the lock position. Once the tips of the pins are oriented between the spikes 56 on pad 55 or abut the surface of the cover plate 50, if a pad is not used, and the locking posts are in position inside the elocking base, that is, abutting the inner surface of the planar face 33, the end of the horizontal arm 46 of the latch plate 9 having the imprinted arrow is pushed against the direction of the arrow. This will engage the engagement teeth on the latch plate with the locking teeth on the locking posts. The device is locked when the solenoid pin 67 is lodged or engages with the solenoid receiver 76 on the latch plate. To unlock the electronic gun lock, the correct code should be inputted on the touching pad 4. Once the correct code is received, the solenoid assembly 64 is activated. Once activated, the solenoid pin 67 disengages from the solenoid receiver 76 by retracting into the solenoid body. With the solenoid pin out of the way, the latch plate 9 can be easily pushed to the unlock position, that is on the direction of the arrow, thereby disengaging the engagement teeth from the locking teeth on the locking posts. The details for locking and unlocking the electronic gun lock that is similar to the mechanical gun lock are not reiterated here.

If desired, the gun lock can be reinforced by a cable assembly having a cable 77 threading through the gun barrel and/or the magazine or the chamber of the gun to displace a round of ammunition that may otherwise be present on the gun. This can be done by several means. One method is to use a retainer 78 that can be introduced into an outer locking post 79 (this is one of the locking posts 6) of the gun lock base. The retainer can be made of injection molded zinc die cast metal. The retainer has one end 80 of the cable 77 staked permanently into one of its cylindrical opening (not shown in drawing). It is recommended to enclose the free end 82 of the cable with a cable tip 81, preferably but not necessarily made of injection molded zinc die cast or screw machined brass, aluminum, steel or stainless steel. The cable tip 81 is recommended to be-crimped or staked onto the cable 77. The cable can be made of plastic covered metal stranded cables similar to those used on bicycle locks. For simplicity of usage, it is recommended that the cable tip 81 have a convex surface 85 at a mid location as shown in FIG. 9. The convex surface matches the contour of an arc or a section of a receiver 84, represented herein as a cylindrical opening. When the free end 82 of the cable is threaded through the barrel or magazine or chamber of the gun as desired and then inserted into the retainer 78 by pushing the free end 82 into a cable tip hole 83 on the retainer 78 until the convex surface 85 sit exactly on the matching arc of receiver 84, the cable is locked in place when the retainer 78 is lodged into the locking post 79 which covers the receiver 84 thereby preventing the free end 82 from dislodging as shown in FIG. 1. The receiver 84 on the retainer allows the retainer to fit over the outer locking post and rest on the cover 25 of the gun lock base 1 as shown in FIG. 1. After the retainer is in place, the desired locking base, mechanical or electronic, is then paired with the gun lock base to lock the gun in place as described in detail above.

The engagement teeth of the latch plate may be molded with the latch plate or it may be designed as a retractable piece coupled to the latch plate as shown in FIG. 7. The operation of the latch plate 9a with retractable teeth 8a is the same as the operation of latch plate 9. With a retractable engagement teeth, as with a permanent engagement teeth, when the gun lock is in a lock position, the engagement teeth 8a is engaged with the locking teeth 7 of the locking post 6. To go from the lock to the unlock position, the horizontal arm 46 of the latch plate 9a is pushed in the direction of the arrow 59. To lock, the latch plate 9a is pushed back against the direction of the arrow 59. It should be noted that the above described operation, the same with the latch plate having permanent engagement teeth, is synchronized with the locking mechanism, either the locking cylinder or the solenoid assembly. Unlike the latch plate 9 with molded engagement teeth without a spring enveloped arm, the latch plate 9a could remain in the locked position when the gun lock base 1 is paired with the locking base 2 because the retractable tooth or teeth 8a can automatically change position in and out of the locking teeth 7 on the posts 6 as the two bases are paired or fitted together. When the retractable teeth 8a senses a push from the locking teeth at the locking posts, the teeth 8a will temporarily retreat and then insert back into a recess between the locking teeth. This motion is repeated until the locking post/s situates into the locking base 2 and the engagement tooth/teeth consequently rests at the desired right position between the locking teeth on the locking post.

FIG. 7A shows the components and assembly of a retractable engagement tooth. A retractable tooth is placed at an etched out opening 96 carved out from the latch plate at a location where a tooth is desired. There can be more than one location, consequently there may be more than one tooth. The etched out opening 96 has a compartment 86 where a spring 87 is housed. One end 88 of the spring is inside and abuts the wall of the compartment 86 while the other end 89 inserts into a cylindrical opening 90 at the rear end of the retractable tooth 8a. The front of the tooth tapers onto a pointed edge to enable the tooth to engage with the corresponding locking teeth 7 on the locking post 6. After the spring is situated on the compartment 86 on one end and on the cylindrical opening 90 at the other end, the tooth is snapped snugly into the opening 96 as shown in FIG. 7A, placing the spring inside the compartment and the cylindrical opening. There is a space 91 between the front wall 92 of the opening 96 and the rear wall 93 of the tooth 8a to allow the tooth to retract and relax. When the tooth Ba engages with a locking teeth of the locking post, the spring 87 of the retractable tooth 8a is in the extended or relaxed position. After introduction of the retractable tooth into the opening 96, the bottom back surface 94 of the tooth align with the bottom back surface 95 of the latch plate 9a. The retractable tooth may be one piece or two pieces joined together. An automatic sensing device that would make a retractable tooth/teeth retract or spring out may also be incorporated. Otherwise, mere pressure from the locking teeth at the locking post as it slides towards the engagement tooth/teeth 8a will automatically retract the tooth 8a. The tooth can retract and spring out as needed as it traverse through the series of locking teeth on the locking post until it lodges at the desired position.

Although the latch plate 9 or 9a illustrated here has two engagement teeth, one tooth or more than two teeth can be incorporated into the latch plate. The same is true for the matching locking posts. The number is only limited by practical feasibility based on the size of the gun lock. Further, while a key locking cylinder and a solenoid assembly were used to lock the gun lock base, other mechanical or electronic means of locking the gun lock can be used.

Securing of the parts or the components together were herein taught to use screws. It should be appreciated that securing, coupling or connecting the parts with each other or with other components can be accomplished by other means or devices aside from screws. Also, while some parts are shown cylindrical in shape, it is easy to adopt the concept and modify the shape to a different geometric shape.

While the embodiments of the present invention have been described, it should be understood that various changes, adaptations, and modifications may be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention and the scope of the claims.





 
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