Expert: Adding gun detection technology to State Capitol could cost $5 million

Years ago whenever they talked about putting in metal detectors under the dome of the State Capitol, the feeling was this was the people's House - but times have changed with mass shootings everywhere.

"There have been a lot of public tragedies out there in schools and public buildings and malls," said John Truscott.

Truscott was the vice chair of the state capitol commission when a more serious look at preventing firearms in the Capitol began.

Metal detectors could have produced long lines like they do at airports, but under this new proposal, the new technology will just be like going to the store.

"People can walk through at normal speed," he said. "And it detects, it will go off if someone has a weapon on their body. The technology helps law enforcement know who has the weapon and where it is."

Seventy-three percent of all state capitols have some method for keeping guns out, and the decision Friday by the Capitol Commission here asking for bids, will be expensive.

"Given staffing, equipment, maintenance of the equipment, that we are probably looking at $5 million dollars," Truscott said.

In addition to the walk-through devices, the state wants to install artificial intelligence surveillance devices as well like ZeroEyes.

It is the equipment that is now used at the Oxford schools after the mass shooting there in 2021.

Republican State Rep. Luke Meerman chaired a House panel on school shootings, but opposes this proposal and if he can find a way to block it, he says he will try.

"I think this isn't the way to keep us safe," he said. "Making this into kind of a fortress, isn't what we want our kids to experience."

The State Capitol Commission expects to see some bids on this within the next week or for attempts to block this, stay tuned.