With the non-stop mass shootings happening in the United States, private security is on many people’s minds. Studies show that there’s a shooting event with multiple deaths every two to three days, and there’s no sign of anything being done in Congress. This causes some fairly regular questions about private security guards. The answers are as follows:
DO STATES REQUIRE PRIVATE SECURITY GUARDS TO BE LICENSED?
Most states do require private security to be licensed. That said, there are at least six states that have little to no regulation on private security guards. When a license is required, it tends to be obtained via application filed with the proper state agency. There may be other requirements, as well. These can include, but are not limited to, background checks and a specific number of training hours.
ARE THERE MANDATORY FBI BACKGROUND CHECKS?
The answer depends on the state. There are ten states that do not require a background check of any kind. Ten other states only require a state background check, at least according to research released in July 2014 by the National Association of Security Companies. An FBI check looks for records in multiple states, and thus could reveal prior criminal records that a state check could not. The NASC suggests recurring background checks. That way, security companies can quickly discover whether or not an employee has been arrested.
HOW MUCH TRAINING IS REQUIRED TO BE A PRIVATE SECURITY GUARD?
This can vary greatly depending on the state. Research performed by the NASC indicated that 15 states had no training requirements at all for either armed or unarmed guards. Security guards in New York, as an example from the other end of the spectrum, require nearly 50 hours of training before the state will certify them to carry a weapon. The state also requires 8 additional training hours every year.
WHAT ARE THE SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS FOR FLORIDA?
Florida has a rather comprehensive licensing program. It includes 40 hours of professional training at specially licensed schools. The system also has background checks, both state and federal, as well as 28 hours of classroom and range training should the guard be an armed guard. Armed security guards must also undergo an additional 4 hours training every year, or they’re unable to get their licensed renewed.
According to state law, private security guards are overseen by both the Consumer Services’ Division of Licensing, and the Department of Agriculture.
WHAT KIND OF LEGISLATION HAS BEEN INTRODUCED?
Lawmakers in Michigan are discussing a bill that would add a number of different levels of training. Among other things, there’s a suggested requirement of 24 hours of firearms training. In Connecticut, lawmakers are considering legislation that might be introduced as early as next year. Among other things, the legislation would increase the amount of training mandated by the state. These efforts have received support from a number of private security firms.