New software GunAlert tested to improve safety

Reporter: Lindsey Sablan Writer: Rachel Murphy
Published: Updated:

When it comes to guns, there are a lot of divisive opinions.

But there’s one thing we can all agree on: there is no quick answer. WINK News found a tool that keeps all of us safe without the controversy surrounding guns.

“I’ve experienced like lockdown, lockdown drills since I was in kindergarten,” said Grace Ryan. “We would have searches, the dogs would come in. We also had metal detectors.”

As Ryan gets ready and heads to school, the concern about guns on campus is real.

“I think any extra safety precaution that can be had with guns and gun safety is super important,” she said.    

Ryan doesn’t mean just inside the school. She grew up in a house with firearms.

“We keep our guns in a locked safe,” said her father, Mike Ryan.

According to Ryan’s father, firearms were locked down and hidden when the children were young. Grace and her brother knew not to touch a gun.

But what if you knew your firearm moved, even a smidge, at any moment of the day?

Tom Lehn, co-creator of GunAlert, explains his new device. “GunAlert is a safety device for gun owners. As soon as your gun is moved, you get an alert,” he said.

With the help of GunAlert creators, WINK News put their product to the test. Tom Lehn placed the small device in his gun safe. Then co-creator Rob Adams took off with it, driving around the block.

A notification was sent tracking the movement of the gun on the street. Updates were sent every five minutes.

The device does not even need to be connected to Wi-Fi in order to be tracked.

“We actually use cellular technology, which gives us a much wider range of coverage,” Adams said.

Only the gun owner can see the location.

For Lehn, who spent 35 years teaching gun safety to boy scouts, the benefits are obvious.

“Our product is designed to be an add-on to provide an additional level. A good example is the shooting that happened in Virginia, the 6-year-old who shot his teacher; if you saw the interview with the parents afterward, the father said, ‘Our gun was secured.’ Well, it wasn’t secure enough. In that case, the gun was on a shelf but had a trigger lock. If this device was attached, it would have alerted the parents it moved.”

WINK News showed the technology to Mike Ryan.

“You don’t want your gun to be stolen and being used. For instance, our neighbors had a gun stolen, and it was used to murder somebody,” Ryan said.

The GunAlert creators said they’ve had interest from law enforcement in other areas.

If you combine the number of stolen guns from all our cities and counties in Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties, there were 516 stolen last year and 565 stolen in 2021.

  • In Charlotte County, 110 were stolen last year and 89 in 2021.
  • Last year, 353 were stolen in Lee County (411 in 2021).
  • In Collier, 53 were stolen in the last year (65 in 2021).

With GunAlert, an owner can take a picture of the weapon and serial number and let law enforcement know where it is.

“Whether you’re pro-gun or whether you’re anti-gun, this product and safety around guns should be at everybody’s mindset,” Adams said.

With our children forced to learn so much about responding to shootings, it only makes sense for adults to focus on preventing them.

There are a number of ways to secure a weapon, from gun safes and lock boxes to trigger locks and cases.

The price for GunAlert is right in line with the full boxes. They say this should be added protection.

Click here for more information on secure gun storage devices.

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