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License Private Security Guards

Concerning the licensure of persons in the business of providing private guard services.
2021 Regular Session
Professions & Occupations
Bill Summary

The bill creates the "Guard Training and Standards Act" (Act). The Act requires the following persons to obtain a license to practice their occupation:

  • Armed guards who, for financial compensation, carry a firearm and may use physical force to protect a person or property;
  • Protection guards who, for financial compensation, may use physical force to protect a person or property; and
  • Security guards who, for financial compensation, secure a person or property.

The Act also requires a guard employer to be registered with the director of the division of professions and occupations in the department of regulatory agencies (director).

The licensing is administered by the director, who, subject to the administrative procedures act, has the power and duty to:

  • Promulgate rules;
  • Establish licensure fees;
  • Investigate, hold hearings, and gather evidence;
  • Enter, during business hours, the business premises of a licensee where violations are alleged to have occurred;
  • Take disciplinary action upon proof of a violation of the Act or the rules promulgated to implement the Act;
  • Issue cease-and-desist orders;
  • Apply to a court for an order enjoining any act or practice that violates the Act;
  • Approve training programs that are required to meet the standards for licensure as a protection guard or an armed guard;
  • Implement a requirement that protection guards and armed guards wear body cameras and record interactions with members of the public in a similar manner to the requirements for peace officers;
  • Set marking, design, and equipment standards for motor vehicles used by a guard in the guard's duties;
  • Set standards for uniforms, including external identification, worn by a guard;
  • Set standards for when it is appropriate to wear plain clothes and for the issuance of a plainclothes permit; and
  • Establish a procedure and standards for waiving a portion of the training required for a protection guard or an armed guard to be issued a license.

A person may use the titles of "security guard", "protection guard", or "armed guard" only if the person is licensed. A person who engages in the occupation of being a guard without the required license or who employs a guard without a registration commits a class 2 misdemeanor for the first offense and a class 6 felony for the second or subsequent offense. Peace officers are exempt from the licensing requirements.

To be issued a license, a person must apply, pay a fee, prove qualifications as required in the Act, and submit to a criminal history background check. Upon being licensed, the person is given a license document that contains the guard's photograph and other relevant information.

Security guards are prohibited from carrying a firearm and using physical force to secure or protect people or property. To be qualified for a security guard license, a person must not have a conviction within the last 10 years for certain crimes that relate to violence or unlawful sexual behavior or for attempting or conspiring to commit these types of crimes.

Protection guards are prohibited from carrying a firearm. To be qualified for a protection guard license, a person must:

  • Not have a conviction, within the last 10 years, for the same type of crimes described for security guards; and
  • Have successfully completed 80 hours of training that is approved by rule and covers the obligations and restrictions imposed on a protection guard by the Act.

To be qualified for an armed guard license, a person must:

  • Have a concealed carry permit for firearms;
  • Not have a conviction, within the last 10 years, for the same type of crimes described for security guards;
  • Have successfully completed 80 hours of training that is approved by rule and covers the obligations and restrictions imposed on an armed guard by the Act; and
  • Have completed firearms training that is substantially equivalent to the training required to be certified as a peace officer.

To renew a protection guard license or armed guard license, the license holder must successfully complete 8 hours of training approved by the director by rule.

Within 30 days after a felony or misdemeanor conviction for certain listed crimes, which are broader than the crimes that disqualify a person to be a guard because the crimes cover certain property offenses and offenses involving fraud, a guard must report the conviction to the director. Within 30 days after terminating the employment of a guard for misconduct, a guard employer must report the termination and the misconduct that is the basis for the termination to the director. Within 30 days after using physical force to protect a person or property, a guard and the guard's employer must report the use of physical force to the director. The report must include the demographic information, as required by rule, of the guard using physical force and of the individual subjected to the physical force.

The director will maintain a database of licensed guards. The database contains the name of each licensee and the following information about each licensee:

  • Each criminal conviction of the type the guard must report; and
  • Each termination of employment for misconduct and the misconduct.

The director will make the database available, including online through the director's website, to a registered guard employer.

The Act establishes standards of conduct for guards that include obeying the Act and rules promulgated under the Act and the following standards:

  • All guards must:
  • Wear a uniform unless the guard has been issued a plainclothes permit;
  • Carry the guard's license;
  • Use a vehicle that complies with the marking, design, and equipment rules promulgated by the director; and
  • Not use a canine to detect explosive devices unless the canine is certified by a nationally recognized training association or a law enforcement agency, and the guard handling the canine is one of the canine's primary handlers.
  • An armed guard must wear a form of identification on the outermost part of the armed guard's uniform.

The director sets standards for issuing a plainclothes permit.

The director may discipline each type of guard or a guard employer for:

  • Fraud or intentional misrepresentation in obtaining or attempting to obtain, reinstate, or renew a license;
  • Violating a currently valid order of the director;
  • Violating the Act or a rule promulgated under the Act;
  • Being convicted of a felony when acting within the course and scope of the guard's duties;
  • Using false advertising or intentionally misleading advertising;
  • Failing to meet the mentioned standards of practice;
  • Failing to pay a fine assessed by the director; and
  • Using deadly force or authorizing the use of deadly force against any individual unless the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent an immediate risk of serious physical harm to an individual.

The director may discipline or require additional training of:

  • A security guard for using unlawful physical force on another person;
  • A protection guard or armed guard for:
  • Failing to use a body camera;
  • Using physical force that is prohibited for peace officers to use; or
  • Being convicted of a crime that would disqualify the protection guard or armed guard from being issued a license; and
  • A guard employer for:
  • Authorizing a guard to take an action that is a ground for discipline;
  • Failing to ensure that protection guards and armed guards use body cameras; or
  • Failing to make a required report.

The director may adopt rules establishing fines that the director may impose on a licensee for violating the Act or rules under the Act, with a minimum fine of not less than $50 and a maximum fine of not more than $5,000 per violation.

In accordance with the sunset law, the Act will repeal on September 1, 2031. Before the repeal, the Act is scheduled for review by the department of regulatory agencies.

(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)




Bill Text


Sponsor Type Legislators
Prime Sponsor

Rep. Y. Caraveo, Rep. M. Weissman



The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details