A CNN investigation into the lack of oversight of private armed security guards has led to a tough new law cracking down on the industry.
California Gov. Jerry Brown last week signed the major reforms into law in his state, which has the largest number of armed guards in the country.
The 2014 CNN investigation, produced in collaboration with The Center for Investigative Reporting, found weak laws, lax oversight and little accountability for armed guards. The series also found that in 15 states, no firearms training was required at all to be a licensed security guard.
“The investigative reporting by CIR/Reveal News and coverage by CNN helped raise awareness of the problem,” said California State Sen. Jerry Hill, who sponsored the bill.
“I introduced SB 1196 to make sure that armed security guards are qualified for their jobs, and that California regulators step up their policing of this industry.”
He said California now has “better training standards for prospective security guards and requirements to ensure that shootings and incidents of suspected excessive force are investigated, that gun permits are revoked when warranted, and that oversight of companies is improved.”
The new law would also require security guards to pass a mental health exam in order to carry a gun. It also requires state officials to take action against an armed guard who is mentally unstable, violent or a threat to public safety.
In addition, the law requires security guards to “report to his or her employer, within 24 hours of the incident, the circumstances surrounding the discharge of any firearm in which he or she is involved while acting within the course and scope of his or her employment.”
“Hired Guns” is the second collaboration between CNN and CIR which had major results. “Rehab Racket,” which was released in 2013 and revealed massive fraud in California’s drug rehabilitation program, led to at least nine convictions of people trying to cheat the system.