It appears as if it’s about to get a lot harder to shoot or carry guns at or near the White House.
CNN has reported that the Secret Service is implementing a new security protocol. The defense system consists of “shotspotter” technology that utilizes sound sensors installed on buildings to detect and pinpoint gunshot activity. This technology is already being used on college campuses and major cities.
The Secret Service tested this new security measure on Saturday night by firing weapons in close proximity to the White House. On Friday, they issued a statement that claimed they would be testing the new system. “Live-fire calibration of a system that provides real-time detection and geolocation of gunshots fired within proximity of protected sites,” read their statement.
The test, which started on Saturday, continued into early Sunday morning. The Secret Service was conducting the test while President Donald Trump and his family were staying at Camp David over the weekend.
There were multiple road closures surrounding the tests, which saw the Secret Service fire rounds of ammunition at bullet traps. In total, the Service fired about 80 shots from multiple types of weapons — including rifles, and different types of handguns.
There have been numerous incidents involving weapons at the White House. In November 2011, Oscar Ortega-Hernandez fired multiple shots at the White House from his car using an assault-style rifle. Some of the bullets hit the Executive Residents — the area where President Barack Obama lived.
One of the bullets struck a bulletproof window. Obama was not present at the White House during the incident. Ortega-Hernandez pled guilty to weapons charges and terrorism, and is serving a 25-year sentence.
In October of 1994, Francisco Martin Duran fired 29 rounds from a semiautomatic weapon at the White House from the sidewalk. Nobody received injuries, and officials stated that President Bill Clinton was “never in danger.” Duran was later convicted of attempting to murder the president.
In 2016, a 30-year old Pennsylvania man, named Jesse Oliveri, approached the White House carrying a weapon. He walked towards the checkpoint –refusing to drop his weapon. A Secret Service agent shot Oliveri in the stomach.
Like the previous incident, President Obama was not at the White House — but Vice President Joe Biden was. It was later discovered the Oliveri was suicidal, but he survived the incident.
Our current political environment is highly charged — the country is more polarized than it has ever been. Political violence is becoming more and more frequent, and there have been several threats made against the president. Shortly after the incident in Charlottesville, VA, where a woman was killed by a white supremacist — a Missouri lawmaker named Maria Chappelle-Nadal published a post on her Facebook page stating that she hoped Trump would be assassinated.
Obviously, Chappelle-Nadal does not intend to kill the president, but her statements — whether she meant them or not — are indicative of the political climate in which we are living. It is no surprise that the Secret Service is taking steps to beef up their security measures. Hopefully, the new system will not be needed. Nevertheless, it is still heartening to know that our elected officials will be protected.