Athena Security aims to help prevent shootings

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas gun laws have come under scrutiny following the mass shooting in Uvalde in May. A tech company in Austin aims to help with protective measures in heavily populated areas.

Chris Ciabarra moved to Austin to start his business called Athena Security.

He noticed an increase in mass shootings across the country and wanted to intervene. Three years later, he created software to detect concealed handguns. If a handgun is in a backpack, the thermal detection system detects the heat source.

Ciabarra says he recently received 150 phone calls in one day from people asking how the software is installed.

“It’s the difference between a cell phone, keys and a real gun,” Ciabarra said. “That’s the key here. It can diversify the different objects and let you know it’s a weapon, or it’s not a weapon, you can get people into your building much faster .”

“Now is the time for action on gun safety legislation,” said Nicole Golden, executive director of Texas Gun Sense, an organization that advocates evidence-based policies to reduce gun injuries and deaths. firearm.

She says extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs) are needed in Texas.

“We don’t have any here. Currently there were many aspects of the shooting at Uvalde, which pointed to the need for an extreme risk protection order, there were warning signs that this author had demonstrated prior to the horrific act at Robb Elementary “said Golden.

Ciabarra says thermal detection is another way to prevent potential shootings in schools, hospitals and other locations across the country. Once an alert is detected, it goes straight to someone’s phone.

“You click confirm, you can select what the actual weapon was,” Ciabarra said.

The thermal detection system is currently at Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston, but Ciabarra wants it in more hospitals and schools in Texas.

“When the system finds a weapon, not only do you see it on your cell phone, but it can lock the doors, lock the elevator, so that person can’t run away or get into your building,” Ciabarra said. .

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