Friday, May 24, 2024

Kansas Governor Vetoes School Gun-Detection Technology Measure Citing Competition Concerns

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly Vetoes Measure Earmarking Funds for Gun-Detection Systems in Schools

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly exercises veto power to prevent potential monopoly in school safety funding

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly vetoed a measure that aimed to allocate up to $5 million for gun-detection systems in schools on Wednesday, citing concerns that the wording of the legislation could have favored one particular company. The vetoed language would have essentially created a no-bid contract, limiting competition and potentially leading to a monopoly in the school safety market.

The veto leaves intact $5 million for school safety grants but removes specific criteria that would have made it difficult for other companies to qualify. ZeroEyes, the company that stood to benefit from the legislation, uses surveillance cameras and artificial intelligence to detect individuals with guns and alert school administrators and law enforcement.

While new weapons detection systems are important, Governor Kelly emphasized the need to maintain fair competition and prevent districts from being restricted to one provider. She stated that schools should have the freedom to use state funds for a variety of safety measures, such as updated communication systems or increased security staff.

ZeroEyes, despite the veto, remains committed to expanding its presence in Kansas. The company’s chief strategy officer, Kieran Carroll, expressed disappointment in the outcome, but noted that they will continue to focus on delivering their technology to customers in the state.

The Kansas veto sets a precedent for other states considering similar legislation, urging governors and lawmakers to prioritize school choice and competition in security programs. Mark Franken, vice president of marketing for Omnilert, a competitor of ZeroEyes, praised Governor Kelly’s decision to veto the sole-source firearms detection provisions as a way to protect schools and uphold fair competition.

The debate over firearm detection technology continues to evolve in various states, with differing opinions on the best approach to school safety. Governor Kelly’s veto highlights the importance of balancing innovation with competition to ensure the most effective solutions for protecting students and staff in educational settings.

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