Gun violence that impacts innocent victims in schools or other public venues could be prevented if technology existed to detect guns when they are within a given range of such a location. Although commercial attempts have been made to develop such technology, until today no viable product or device actually exists.
One way to approach the development of gun-detecting devices is by focusing on the "ingredient" that firearms require to shoot: gunpowder. Gunpowder is a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate (saltpeter). The sulfur and charcoal act as fuels, and the saltpeter is an oxidizer. Because of its burning properties and the amount of heat and gas volume that it generates, gunpowder has been widely used as a propellant in firearms and as a pyrotechnic composition in fireworks. Multiple technologies could be considered for detecting the components of gunpowder, for example laser-induced spectroscopy for sulfur detection which is used for analysis of planets during unmanned space missions (like the Mars Rover).
Contravim will stimulate research that will help develop a device to be used in vulnerable places to shield innocents from gun violence by detecting guns and neutralizing them before they can be fired.