Do you think that gun detection systems are just a way for the government to infringe on your second amendment rights? Do you think they don’t work because shooters can simply hide their guns? These common misconceptions are what we hear throughout so many gun-related violence conversations, so we want to clear the air.
First and foremost, our goal at ZeroEyes is to protect law-abiding citizens from criminals who are illegally brandishing firearms with the intent to cause harm, without infringing on rights. This goal shaped how we designed our proactive gun detection solution.
In this article, we’ll dispel some of the most common misconceptions about visual gun detection technology. Let’s get started.
Myth #1: Gun detection systems use facial recognition and track personal information
The truth: Our visual artificial intelligence (A. I.) gun detection systems do not use facial recognition because our algorithm is solely developed for object detection. In simple terms, it detects guns and nothing else. We also don’t store any customer footage or data.
Additionally, we never have access to live camera feeds. Our operations center is staffed with fully trained US military veterans and former law enforcement professionals who only receive keyframe images of potential gun detections and verify whether or not there is a real, illegally brandished gun present.
Myth #2: Visual A.I. gun detection encourages surveillance state
The truth: The goal of a visual A.I. gun detection system is to prevent violent acts like mass shootings from occurring and protect innocent people, not to surveil citizens or infringe on their rights. Our systems do not retain footage or personal information; they only detect guns.
ZeroEyes technology is installed on already-existing digital security camera systems and is not a camera system in itself. The technology can’t surveil or monitor live camera feeds. In our verification process, only keyframe images of potential gun detections are sent to our operations center for verification. It is only then that law enforcement is alerted and action is taken.
Myth #3: Visual A.I. gun detection systems will dispatch many false alarms
The truth: False alarms can be a concern with any type of security system, including visual gun detection systems. That is why choosing a weapons detection vendor with a trustworthy verification system built into their solution is important.
We use a combination of technology and “human-in-the-loop” review by trained U.S. military veterans and ex-law enforcement to ensure accuracy and minimize false alerts. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has also vetted our visual A.I. gun detection technology. We have earned the SAFETY Act Designation, which means the DHS has placed high confidence in our technology’s ability to effectively detect guns.
Myth #4: Gun detection infringes on second amendment rights
The truth: Visual gun detection systems do not infringe on the second amendment in any way. Our systems are designed to only detect illegally brandished guns and alert safety personnel and law enforcement to prevent a violent act from occurring—not take away individuals’ rights.
Our system does not detect holstered guns. Law-abiding citizens in states where open carry is allowed do not need to be concerned.
ZeroEyes is nonpartisan and does not lobby for or against gun laws. Our only mission is to prevent senseless gun-related violence and to protect innocent lives with technology that can be implemented at any location today with security cameras.
Myth #5: Visual gun detection doesn’t work because shooters hide their guns
The truth: Visual gun detection systems are designed to detect brandished or partially exposed guns. In many active shooter scenarios, the shooter exposes their gun for several minutes before the first shot is fired. It’s common for shooters to prepare in parking lots or stairwells, which are locations where security cameras (and our technology) are installed.
Active shooters often arrive at the scene with the intent to instill fear and feel powerful, which means they are not necessarily inclined to hide their weapons or be discreet in their actions.
In the mind of the murderer, in most cases, it’s a suicide mission to cause as much loss of innocent life as possible. These murderers could care less about hiding their firearms.
“[…] you see it in these big, active shooter events where there are multiple casualties time and time again,” Mike Lahiff, ZeroEyes CEO, said in a podcast. “You have to think, these individuals aren’t trying to be super creative. They’re basically on a suicide mission. Obviously, they’re not thinking clearly. They do not care if people see them with the weapon. They want people to see that they’re like, ‘Look at me, I’m the big scary monster.’ And that’s what we’re really trying to stop.”
Myth #6: If security cameras are already in place, there’s no need for visual gun detection
The truth: Security cameras alone cannot detect a gun or alert someone that a dangerous situation is occurring. They can be useful for reviewing footage after an incident has occurred, but they can’t prevent it from happening.
The ratio of security personnel to monitors is also incredibly skewed, leaving a large opening for human error or a missed view. For example, in a large US metropolitan city, with over 30,000 security cameras, only two police officers are monitoring these 30,000 cameras.
“It is almost impossible for us to monitor cameras constantly,” said Deborah Murillo, Rancocas Valley Regional High School School Resource Officer. “[ZeroEyes] is actually very helpful because our first responders would like to know exactly where the threat is inside the building.”
That’s where visual gun detection systems come in. An advantage of visual A.I. gun detection is that it acts as a force multiplier for your current security team.
It’s almost impossible for security officers to constantly monitor cameras and not miss a thing. You also need to factor in breaks, sick days, and other human elements. It’s much more effective for technology to pick up the slack and ensure nothing is missed.
Security cameras alone are not enough to save lives when an active shooter incident is about to occur—they need to be enhanced with the right technologies.
Myth #7: There’s no need for visual gun detection systems since a person can just call 911
The truth: In most active shooter scenarios, once a shot is fired, chaos ensues. Multiple calls may be made to 911, but that doesn’t mean the response time will be any faster. Just look at the Uvalde shooting, where over 100 calls were made to 911.
In this video of 911 calls made during the Parkland shooting, you can hear real audio clips of bystanders and students calling emergency dispatch. Bystanders could not provide any information about the shooter’s whereabouts or identity, and many students were inaudible. This is just one example that shows that even if calls are made quickly, they usually provide conflicting information that first responders ultimately ignore. First responders need accurate real-time actionable intelligence to act quickly and safely to save lives and to stop the dying.
In the case of school shootings, children are taught to run, hide, and fight. When evading, they are focused on survival. When hiding, they are told to silence their phones and stay quiet. The responsibility and burden of providing critical situational awareness to first responders should not be put on bystanders and victims trying to survive.
Bottom line: Without critical situational awareness, it’s incredibly difficult for first responders to do their job. How do they locate a shooter on a multi-building campus without a trusted source of direction? How do they know where the victims are that need immediate aid?
Having a visual A.I. gun detection system means:
- Security personnel can respond as soon as a gun is detected, giving them more time to take action and protect innocent lives.
- Security personnel and law enforcement receive real-time location, description, and image of the shooter for accurate situational awareness, so they can quickly assess the situation and make decisions quickly.
Myth #8: Visual gun detection isn’t necessary if you have on-site security guards or SROs
The truth: As we discussed above, situational awareness is key for better active shooter response. Even if you have on-site security personnel, it’s impossible for them to be everywhere or have eyes on everything at all times. If an active shooter threat arises, the faster your security team receives critical, actionable intel for accurate situational awareness, the faster they can do their job.
Simply adding more on-site security doesn’t solve the problem if you still struggle with the lack of comprehensive situational awareness. During the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, 376 law enforcement officers arrived at the scene but failed to act due to a lack of situational awareness. They thought it was a hostage situation, not an actual active shooter/mass murder situation.
If you don’t solve the core problem, which is a lack of situational awareness, adding more security personnel is like placing a band-aid over a gaping wound.
Myth #9: Adding visual gun detection will harden facilities and make them unwelcoming
The truth: Unlike metal detectors or concealed weapons sensors that create a TSA-like experience, A.I. visual gun detection systems are not intrusive or bulky. These metal detectors and concealed weapons sensors may actually create a heightened sense of fear and insecurity.
ZeroEyes’ visual gun detection software is designed to protect innocent lives while allowing people to go about their day-to-day lives without the fear of a violent act occurring. Our software is integrated into existing digital camera systems with no additional hardware required, so it acts as an invisible layer of protection that doesn’t impede on the positive atmosphere in places like schools, houses of worship, and commercial facilities.
By creating an invisible layer of protection with visual gun detection systems, facilities can make their spaces more welcoming while still maintaining the highest levels of security.
With our technology, you can know that your space is being constantly analyzed for guns and that security personnel is alerted in as fast as 3 to 5 seconds from when an illegally brandished gun is detected. This allows them to respond as quickly as possible, making sure everyone remains safe and secure.
Myth #10: Security cameras alone are good enough for identifying active shooters during a crisis
The truth: ZeroEyes’ proactive visual gun detection software provides you with real-time updates of the critical intel you need to stop an active shooter, so you don’t waste time sorting through footage.
In certain situations, where the control room is not in the area where the shooter is, law enforcement can gain access to the security monitors and look over the footage—but it’s not a quick or reliable way to locate a shooter quickly. In many situations, law enforcement can’t get to the security monitoring room safely, because it could be where the shooter is.
Also, with the expanse of camera models and technology systems available, law enforcement won’t always know how to access live camera feeds or review footage. If they are relying on an organization’s technology or administrative team, that only delays response further.
And, due to the sheer chaos of the situation, teams may unknowingly be reviewing out-of-date footage. For example, in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas School shooting in Parkland, Florida, police officers reviewed footage delayed by 30 minutes. The shooter left the school grounds and was long gone, but police thought he was still in the building.
During a crisis, you cannot leave room for error. It’s these delays and missteps that contribute to 32% of school shooters fleeing the scene and never getting apprehended. Real-time, actionable intelligence provided by ZeroEyes’ visual gun detection system solves these challenges that first responders face.
Myth #11: A.I. technology is too young to be used in security applications
The truth: It’s natural to have apprehensions about adapting to new technologies. Although visual A.I. gun detection is a burgeoning field, the birth of artificial intelligence itself can be traced back to the 50s.
Between 1957-1979, artificial intelligence and machine learning became mainstream ideas. In 1959, computers were taught to play chess better than the humans who programmed them. In 1965, an “expert system” was created to replicate the thinking and decision-making abilities of human experts. In 1979, the first autonomous vehicle successfully navigated a room without human interference.
The point is, artificial intelligence isn’t anything new—it’s been around for over fifty years, and it’s a field that has continuously evolved and improved over time.
ZeroEyes’ visual A.I. gun detection system has been programmed to detect guns (and only guns) with a high degree of accuracy and sensitivity. And to further ensure that customers never receive false alarms, a human verifies each gun detection before it is dispatched.
Ensuring Safety With Proactive Visual A.I. Gun Detection
Visual A.I. gun detection systems are crucial for ensuring public safety. It’s important to understand that these systems don’t infringe on anyone’s rights, nor do they encourage a surveillance state. They simply provide an extra layer of security and peace of mind—something we could all use in this day and age.
We hope this article has cleared up some of the common misconceptions people have about gun detection technology. To learn more about visual A.I. gun detection, visit our content library for helpful resources.
If you’re a school or organization that would like to see our solution in action, request a free live demo or consultation here.