Is AI gun detection the future of preventing school shootings?

Is AI gun detection the future of preventing school shootings?

Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) is everywhere, from fraud detection in financial institutions, to autonomous vehicles, to chatbots in customer service applications. AI has already been deployed in public venues (like football stadiums and airports) to help improve security systems and aid in image recognition. The wide application of the technology is leading school administrators to wonder: Is AI the future of preventing school shootings?

At School Safety Solution, we’ve dug deep to discover how AI is being used in school districts across the country to keep students and staff safe. We’ve considered the technology’s pros and cons and sought to answer the most pressing questions about AI gun detection in schools. In this article, we’ll review our findings, so your school can decide whether the technology may be right for you.

Key Takeaways

  • AI gun detection has been largely successful in the school systems across the country that have implemented them.
  • AI gun detection is an emerging technology that has improved overtime, and has developed ways to detect weapons with high accuracy and speed.
  • AI gun detection can be a far less invasive security option than traditional weapons detection methods, protecting the learning environment of schools.
  • AI systems can alert need-to-know parties (such as school administrators and local law enforcement) when it detects the presence of a weapon.
  • Several options for AI gun detection are available at market today, providing solutions across a range of price points and integration requirements.

What is AI Gun Detection?

AI gun detection is an evolving technology that aims to provide noninvasive and accurate virtual weapons screening for individuals in public spaces (or quasi-public spaces, like schools). The technology has already been deployed in hundreds of school districts across the country, including in schools in Chicago, Charlotte, New Jersey, Georgia, and more. AI gun detection methods vary slightly between providing companies, but the overarching theme among the emerging tech systems is the use of artificial intelligence shape and material recognition abilities to identify weapons immediately.

Most AI gun detection technology available on the market today is made possible through the use of camera systems or pass-through body scanners. The algorithms deployed by these solutions are designed to recognize the appearance of weapons (chiefly, firearms), and to differentiate them from harmless objects, such as cell phones and other items.

Once a weapon is detected, AI systems are able to alert the parties that can respond—such as school administrators, school resource officers, and even community police. Systems are able to deploy these alerts instantaneously, so intervention can be conducted quickly.

How is AI Gun Detections Used in Schools?

There have been 304 fatal shootings at schools since the year 2000, and unfortunately, we’re seeing an uptick trend in recent years. School shootings have increased a horrific 1,900 percent (or 19 times) since 2010, and 163 percent since 2020. A security event at a school is one of the worst things that happen to a community, with the threat of lives lost and the effect on mental health reverberating for years after.

Solutions are needed immediately, but the learning environment is delicate. Communities demand security systems that won’t turn their schools into maximum security institutions and scare students and staff.

The goal of many AI gun detection providers is to strike a balance on the fine line between prioritizing safety and fostering a welcoming environment in the places we should all enjoy being (i.e., sporting events, community centers, and schools). And many of them accomplish just that, eliminating the need for body checks, facial recognition, or other uncomfortable safety procedures, such as clear (or no) backpack rules.

Current Methods of Gun Detection in School

When most of us think of gun detection systems in schools, we think of something akin to airport security or the entrance to a prison: images of metal detectors, armed security guards, fierce canines, and shrill beeping noises come to mind. Methods like these feel invasive, require a lot by way of resources, and can set up students for a day ruled by fear and disease, detracting significantly from the learning environment. AI gun detection solutions are meant to overcome this, with seamless pass-through scanners and security cameras mostly out of sight, and almost completely out of focus for innocent students and staff.

Pros and Cons of AI Gun Detection in Schools


  • Increased accuracy: AI gun detection systems can identify many types of weapons and firearms, whether metal or another type of material (unlike many traditional weapons detection systems).
  • Increased speed: AI gun detection systems are designed to identify weapons immediately and deploy notifications instantaneously
  • Machine learning offers improvement over time: AI algorithms learn from their own experience, using patterns to improve weapons detection with time and reduce the occurrence of false alarms
  • Ease of integration: while some solutions can be costly and require installation of new hardware (including pass-through scanners) many AI gun detection systems available at market today work with schools’ existing video surveillance infrastructure.


  • Privacy and ethics: While most AI gun detection systems on the market today do a fantastic job of refraining from collecting personally identifiable information (such as facial recognition data), not all school districts will be comfortable with the prospect of omnipresent video surveillance systems. AI in schools can be a hot-button political issue within communities.
  • High capital cost: Many AI gun detection options come with significant improvement costs, posing a real problem for school districts that are relatively small and don’t already have high security budgets.

Is AI Safe for Schools?

Largely, AI gun detection is safe for schools. With a high focus on privacy from vendors on the market, the threat of system hacking for personally identifiable information (such as facial recognition data) is relatively low.

Best AI Gun Detection Systems

School districts considering implementing AI gun detection systems have a range of options available to them. Some of the most advanced systems on the market today include those from the following vendors:

  • Evolv – uses pass-through digital sensors and AI to detect weapons at entryways
  • ZeroEyes – integrates into existing digital security camera systems
  • ActuateAI – detects visibly brandished firearms
  • Athena Security – uses AI to detect weapons in checkpoints

Bottom Line: AI Gun Detection is Part of a Comprehensive School Safety Strategy

Considering implementing advanced weapons detection systems at your school? The first step in keeping your school safe is to conduct a comprehensive threat assessment.

At School Safety Solution, our priority is assisting school administrators in making sure that school campuses across the country are as safe as they can be. We offer a suite of school safety equipment options that can work in conjunction with advanced security and weapons detection systems to keep staff and students safe.

We know that you’ll never regret having effective safety protocols in place. If you would like to review your school’s safety and security equipment, the tools available to your school’s staff, or any other security consideration, we would love to assist you. You can call our team of safety experts any time at 888.733.0406 or send us an email at for more information.