Armed Guards Not Trained Well, Need Better Oversight
There are guards with weapons who probably shouldn't have them: investigation
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2014 12:21 PM CST

(Newser) – Joshua Kosatschenko was approved for a security guard license to carry arms in 2009 in Arizona. He was 19 at the time, but he was also a "prohibited possessor"—meaning he wasn't allowed to carry a gun until he turned 30 because of his juvenile record—and the state of Arizona didn't check a federal database with that info, nor juvie records, before issuing the license. Kosatschenko ended up shooting and paralyzing an unarmed 18-year-old during a convenience store incident just six weeks after being licensed. The story is just one of many that CNN and the Center for Investigative Reporting uncovered during a yearlong investigation into training standards for armed guards in the US. Highlights:

  • In 15 states, no firearms training is required for the armed guard license. In other states the training still doesn't seem to match the responsibility of the job—CNN notes that in California an armed guard needs 54 hours of training overall (14 of those hours in firearms), while a manicurist in that same state must complete 400 hours of training to be licensed.
  • Federal training standards for armed guards are nonexistent, as is a countrywide listing of guards who shoot or misuse their weapons.
  • Mental health exams, standard for police officers, are completed on armed guard contenders in just four states.
  • Background checks seem lax: CNN and CIR found there were guards with criminal rap sheets for drug and alcohol offenses and domestic violence. In some cases, ex-law enforcement employees who had had major discipline issues in their former careers easily transitioned into armed security roles.
  • The study discovered that 27 states don't check if guard applicants are federally prohibited from carrying arms like Joshua Kosatschenko was; nine states don't bother getting an FBI criminal-background check.
Read more about the investigation and watch the second half tonight on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360° at 8pm EST.