By CAROLINE BALCHUNAS, WCIV
GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCIV) - Armed guards, teachers with guns, and metal detectors are all suggestions in the debate over gun violence prevention in schools. A low country company has another idea - bulletproof doors.
Tony Deering, President and CEO of R2P Innovations of Goose Creek, has dedicated the last four years to its development. The door was designed specifically to outfit school classrooms in the U.S.
Deering said the term "bulletproof" has become generically used. His bulletproof door is capable of withstanding assault rifles and high-power, military grade weapons.
On Friday, Deering invited members of the Goose Creek SWAT team to one of his manufacturing warehouses in Ladson to prove its worth. They shot rounds from a 9-millimeter pistol, a shotgun, an AR-15, and an FN-SCAR 17s. The FN-SCAR is three times more powerful than an AR-15.
The door lived up to expectations. None of the bullets penetrated the door and the glass window did not shatter. It's a passion project for Deering. He moved his family from South Africa to the U.S. to escape pervasive gun violence. He's confident the bulletproof door would be a tangible, lasting contribution to school security.
"Looking at the videos posted on the media (of school shootings), in some instances, the shooter was actually outside of the classroom shooting into the classrooms through the door," said Deering. "That would have never occurred in an instance where a particular door solution was employed."
District 99 Representative Nancy Mace was in attendance at Friday's demonstration. After witnessing its strength, she said she supports installing the doors in South Carolina classrooms.
"Every class has to have a window on the door and as we saw today, that window didn't get penetrated at all, it's very impressive," Mace said. "The cost seems to be fairly low for what you're getting."
The doors cost roughly $4,000 each and weigh 285-pounds, which Deering said is lightweight for a bulletproof door. He said over a 20-year period, the cost amounts to four-cents a day and $7.50 a year.
"This door took them four years to design, manufacture and build," said Mace. "We should be having lengthy conversations of what we can do, what can we do now."
Deering said the doors are ready for mass manufacturing and added his team can produce 10,000 a month.
"Post 9/11, it took the federal government less than three months to form the TSA which now has a budget of $7 billion a year, it employs 60,000 people and that's to protect 600,000 daily air travelers," said Deering. "What are we as a nation going to do to protect 80 million students?"