Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., introduced legislation on Dec. 10 that would provide $40 million in grants for state and local governments to purchase gunfire detection technologies.

The legislation, which will amend the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, would authorize the U.S. Attorney General to distribute the grants equally over the coming four fiscal years

“As we work to prevent gun violence, we can and must use technology to equip first responders with the resources to respond more quickly in service of victims and investigations,” said Rep. Kelly. “This bipartisan measure will help cities and states adopt this powerful technology that is yielding positive results in our efforts to reduce gun violence and violent crime.”

Gunfire detection and location technology uses sensors to both detect gunshots and locate the origin of the gunfire. The technology enables a quicker response time, which Kelly and her cosponsor, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., say allows for “speedier access to victims and rapid securing of the crime scene.” Additionally, Reps. Kelly and Sensenbrenner note that the data can also be used, via a secure database, for predictive intelligence, “which further improves response times and resource allocation.”

“Gunfire detection technology has proven to be successful in many cities across the U.S.,” Rep. Sensenbrenner said. “It’s time we empower law enforcement officers in other locations to implement this technology so they may better protect their communities.”

The technology is already in use in more than 100 U.S. cities, including Chicago, Milwaukee, and New York City.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.