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US schools embrace biometric tools to fight gun violence

Categories Biometrics News  |  Schools
US schools embrace biometric tools to fight gun violence

School security in the United States has never looked more like a Robocop movie, with schoolboards turning to technological solutions for the problem of chronic mass shootings.

Working on the principle that the way to fight guns is with more guns, faster, the school district in Oconee County, South Carolina has installed biometric gun safes in each of its schools. According to a local news source, WYFF, a total of 18 safes have been placed at undisclosed locations in three high schools, three middle schools ten elementary schools, and two academies.

The safes mean that school resource officers responding to reports of a mass shooter can access their rifles quickly, in the school, using their thumbprints or other biometrics, rather than having to retrieve them from their vehicles.

According to WYFF, officials said the construction of the gun safes makes cracking them “virtually impossible.”

Anti-shooter tech on display at Las Vegas conference

The Oconee safes were purchased from an unnamed vendor in Atlanta. However, school boards looking to beef up their security arsenal might plan a future shopping trip to the National School Security Conference, which took place at the Tropicana Casino in Las Vegas.

Michigan, for instance, invested in several new security tools for its Detroit schools, many of them technology-based and aimed at slowing down active shootings in progress. Bridge Michigan reports that, following a school shooting in 2021, the state’s budget for school security increased seven-fold, and now totals up to $335 million.

As in many industries, with government investment comes an expanded market. Offerings on display at the Vegas show included bulletproof window decals and whiteboards, integrated body camera systems, bleeding control kits, and panic button necklaces. Facial recognition and other biometric systems were well represented; ZeroEyes, a security firm founded by former Navy SEALs, was there to push a platform that wires AI and video analytics into existing school security cameras for real-time gun detection.

According to a 2022 report from CNBC, the school security industry in the U.S. is now worth $3.1 billion.

According to Education Week’s school shooting tracker, there have been 23 school shootings that resulted in injuries or death in the U.S. since the beginning of 2023.

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