Weak Links in the Armed Security Guard Profession
- By Ginger Hill
- Dec 10, 2014
I’m always on the lookout for good news stories that relate to the security industry – the ones that grab me, that really sparks something inside of me, and I think I found one. Maybe I’m still too “new to the industry” to realize this, but there are no national standards for armed security guards nor is there a national database of how many shoot or misuse their guns. This struck me as a little odd to say the least.
CNN teamed up with The Center for Investigative Reporting for a yearlong investigation, examining training standards for armed guards in all 50 states. The results were a bit alarming.
Take this comparison: A manicurist in California is required to complete 400 hours of training to receive a license, but an armed security guard only needs 54 total hours with only 14 of them dedicated to firearms training. That’s just in California; in 15 states, no firearms training is needed at all. The result of this lack of training can be seen here:
In the state of Nevada, a guard felt the need to fire his gun into the air outside a rowdy teen dance. The result? The bullet came down, struck and killed a teenage bystander.
The investigation also discovered that the backgrounds of armed security guards varied from those with criminal records for domestic violence, drug and alcohol offenses to former law enforcement officers with serious disciplinary problems. In addition, 27 states don’t even check if an armed guard is banned by federal law from carrying a firearm and 9 states don’t even conduct criminal background checks at all.
Some are calling for stricter standards, like Steve Amitay, lobbyist and general counsel for National Association of Security Companies. He is lobbying for FBI criminal background checks for anyone who desires to be an armed security guard.
What do you think? What should the requirements be for armed security guards? Should they be held to nationally-recognized standards? What about possessing a firearm? Should armed guards be required a certain number of training hours each year? And, background checks? Should these be required for each potential armed guard?
Looking forward to discussing this with you!
Ginger Hill is Group Social Media Manager.