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VanderWall bill would provide schools with funding to detect firearms through video security systems

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Curt VanderWall on Wednesday introduced legislation to provide funding for schools to upgrade security technology to detect the presence of firearms and alert public safety units.

“Unfortunately, we have seen an increase in the discovery of — and tragically the use of — firearms in schools across our country,” said VanderWall, R-Ludington. “While there are many opinions about Second Amendment rights and how to address violence that occurs across our society, one thing is certain: there is technology — available today — that can integrate with a school’s video security systems to monitor for firearms and immediately alert authorities if a weapon is detected. Student safety is something we all agree is imperative, and this technology will add an additional level of security for all our students, teachers and other school staff members.”

Senate Bill 1181 would utilize $238 million of the state’s unappropriated federal American Rescue Plan Act funding to cover the installation and four years of real-time monitoring services of technology that can be integrated with a school’s current video security systems to detect firearms and alert authorities.

“My bill would appropriate funds for technology upgrades to schools’ current security camera systems to immediately detect and notify a staffed monitoring center of any firearm discovered by a school camera,” VanderWall said. “This notification is then immediately relayed to local law enforcement agencies for a coordinated and rapid response. This technology can significantly reduce response times and — most importantly — help save lives.”

A companion bill will also be introduced in the House of Representatives, sponsored by Rep. TC Clements, R-Temperance. SB 1181 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Appropriations for further consideration.