There are no national standards for applying to become an armed security guard. There are also lax regulations on firearm training as well as background checks. Although it is lawful to only meet state requirements — is it worth it?
Owning a security guard company comes with a great amount of risk, especially when armed guards are involved. While there are laws around security guard standards at the state level, there are no national standards for applying to become armed security.
This leaves an open space for states and companies to hold lax requirements, and has the potential to put lives in danger. Unfortunately, it already does.
12 Shots, 2 Victims
Lukace Kendle was an armed security guard in Florida. He now is charged with murder in the 2012 killing of Kijuan Byrd. One evening outside a club in Florida, Kendle approached a vehicle he deemed suspicious. Alleging that Byrd and his friend Michael Smathers shouted threatening language and threats of having a gun, Kendle proceeded to fire at least 12 shots at the vehicle, killing Byrd and paralyzing Smathers. 4 of those shots were in Byrd’s back while he was reportedly scrambling under the vehicle for safety. Neither Byrd nor Smathers were armed.
While in custody, Kendle has been diagnosed with several mental health conditions, including “impulse control disorder,” “antisocial personality disorder,” “unspecified schizophrenia spectrum,” and “other psychotic disorder.” Mental health evaluations are only required in four states, Florida not being one of those states. Alternatively, these evaluations are standard requirements for police officers.
Paralysis for Stealing Cheetos
Joshua Kosatschenko was a “prohibited possessor” when he was hired for armed security in Arizona. A prohibited possessor is someone for whom it is unlawful to carry a firearm, in this case Kosatschenko had a juvenile record including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Arizona did not check his juvenile record, nor check the federal database before approving his license request. Less than two month after getting his license, Kosatschenko shot and paralyzed an 18-year-old who was allegedly stealing groceries. The 18-year-old and his 3 friends tried to steal a few burritos, Hot Pockets, and a bag of Cheetos.
If states did proper background and mental health checks, would the three aforementioned victims still be walking – and living?
The statistics on lacking accountability within this industry is disturbing.
- 27 states don’t check if an armed guard applicant is federally banned from carrying a firearm.
- 9 states do not conduct FBI criminal background checks.
- 15 states don’t require firearm training at all.
- 49 states don’t check if applicant was a former police officer with disciplinary issues.
- 46 states do not require a mental health evaluation.
Set A Higher Standard for Your Company
Running a security business is indeed running a business. Getting more guards out on the streets can mean more money for the company, so it could arguably make sense to only meet the minimum requirements of the state. However, as a responsible security guard company, understanding the consequences of not completing thorough background checks, as well as not encouraging plenty of firearm training, can help to alleviate the problem.
This can also help a security company avoid litigation and a bad name should an incident ever occur. The security company that hired Lukace Kendle is now defunkt after the dramatic and deadly nature of the incident.
Complete background checks and higher standards of training can be the very things that can set your company apart, and help your company become the gold standard of the security guard industry.