February 22, 2013 -
Following the brutal massacre of 20 children and six adult staff members at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut last November, there have been many calls to restrict access to assault weapons and to make schools safer for children and staff.
Southern California-based Security Solutions has just announced a new biometric gun safe it believes can protect schools. The solution, which the company says has been met with acceptance by some school districts in California and Texas, is essentially a wall-mounted safe containing a firearm to allow authorized users access through fingerprint access verification. Different from traditional gun cabinets that only feature a locking mechanism, the Security Solutions system includes a safe, surveillance camera, audio intercom to a manned central station, IP communication interface, biometric input device, door-status contact, tamper switch and delayed verification to release the lock.
According to the company, upon request to open the safe via fingerprint, the recording of live video and audio is automatically initiated and transmitted to a central command facility – immediately alerting law enforcement officials. In addition, says the company, the high-resolution IP surveillance camera allows central command personnel to view the person requesting that the cabinet be opened to access the gun. The central station has an ability within 15 seconds to override the request if it is determined a non-life threatening emergency.
“While it’s largely true that most gun-free environments are considered safe havens, massacres of people in gun-free zones are on the rise because the killers know the victims have limited means of protection,” Tim DeWeese, President of Security Solutions said. “Our safe weapon system is a deterrent form of protection against the free reign of gun violence that, unfortunately, is now commonplace in America.”
Since the shooting last November, there has been much discussion in the biometrics community and on social media about what options exist to improve safety, and a few have stood out. Could a James-Bond style smart gun, which only allows the registered and verified user to fire, based on biometric sensors on the guns handle and trigger have made a difference? What about biometric access control systems? Could they have prevented the crazed murderer from entering the school? What about biometric gun vaults that only allow access to the gun’s rightful owner?
The bottom line is that most of these technologies already exist, and they can certainly help improve safety, but they can’t address the problem alone.
As Rawlson King aptly notes in a recent BiometricUpdate.com editorial, “with all of the death attributed to guns, the call for tougher gun control is logical.”
Reported in BiometricUpdate.com, in December, American Senator Dianne Feinstein proposed new legislation in response to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary that represents a tougher ban on assault weapons and would see all gun owners fingerprinted and photographed for positive identification.
Though the organization remained mum for a week after the shooting, the National Rifle Association (NRA) notably called for armed guards in schools, and idea that has had little traction among stakeholders. From a report in the New York Times: “The N.R.A.’s plan for countering school shootings, coming a week after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., was met with widespread derision from school administrators, law enforcement officials and politicians, with some critics calling it ‘delusional’ and ‘paranoid.’ Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, a Republican, said arming schools would not make them safer.”
A recent BiometricUpdate.com editorial by Rawlson King suggests it’s time for the U.S. government to consider implementing legislation that mandates the use of such mechanisms for regular storage by law-abiding gun owners.
“While any gun control measure will not be able to stop senseless violence, better storage will curb theft, unauthorized use and potentially accidental shootings and suicides,” King notes.