There's been a lot of news lately about the Supreme Court's discussion about whether or not it will overturn Chicago's 28-year-old handgun ban, making it legal for citizens to own and carry guns. Some have speculated that this will increase gun trafficking and lead to an increase in violent crime. Others argue that it will allow private citizens to legally protect themselves.
But I was curious how such a change in policy would impact the security industry? Would making guns legal mean that organizations would consider arming their security officers? Would they need to implement more technology to screen folks entering facilities to ensure they weren't packing heat? I started a discussion on LinkedIn and was surprised by what ensued. (See I told you social media can be a great tool).
You can read the thread here (but you probably have to be a member of the ASIS International group). The consensus was basically that a change in the law wouldn't impact security companies or those charged with securing facilities. Here are a few points I thought were interesting (I chose not to attribute quotes because I didn't want to ask individual permission and it's a blog, so I can get away with it):
I previously worked in a facility with over 1,000 employees and approximately 75% of the employees in the facility had concealed carry permits, yet we had never seen an incident of violent crime on site in the history of that facility. Violent crime in our state is actually well below national averages. I think this illustrates the fact that relaxed gun control laws do not necessarily mean increased risk of violent crime.
... those intent on committing major crimes are already comfortable breaking the law and they are not dissuaded by breaking one more law by having or obtaining firearms. Restrictive gun laws are no more effective at restricting access to firearms than restrictive drug laws are at restricting access to illicit drugs.
With regard to our industry and the impact there, we have not seen any real increase in armed security coverage. In fact, armed security seems to be less common in Oregon than in other states. Aside from courthouses, banks, and armored carrier services, we don't see much armed security here. Most of our government buildings and a fair number of our schools have metal detectors installed. But really I don't think there will be a tremendous impact on our industry. To be honest, I think the impact from such a change would be minimal not only to our industry, but to the nation as a whole.
Another question would now be could security officers carry without the consent of their companies? If it is decided that the 2nd Amendment is universal and applies to all States, can it be similar to the 'hospital situation?' Can a company then not allow its security officers to carry? Would it then be wrong to terminate an officer's employment for carrying?
With the current trend in the US toward relaxing or reversing hand gun laws involving the general populations’ ability to conceal and carry, I would expect an increase for opportunities to deploy thermal, x-ray and metal detection appliances into security operations. Change always spurs new opportunity.