Create federal standards to help prevent dangerous individuals from becoming armed security guards
This petition had 40,173 supporters
The recent number of deaths of unarmed young African Americans at the hands of those hired to protect and serve, take me back to a recurring nightmare on June 1, 2012. On that fatal night, my son Kijuan and his friend Michael were sitting in their parked truck outside of a Florida nightclub when a hired armed guard used his gun recklessly, all because he felt that his "life was in danger.” Although no words were exchanged and the guard saw no weapons, the guard fired at least 12 shots, leaving Kijuan dead and his friend paralyzed from the waist down.
After Kijuan was murdered, we learned that the armed security guard industry is rife with loopholes that legally give guns to individuals who should not have them. Based upon research conducted by the Center for Investigative Reporting, several states have inconsistent policies and guards rarely come under scrutiny when they use their guns recklessly. For example, there is no required firearm training for armed security guards in 15 states, only 4 states mandate mental health evaluations for security guard applicants (Florida is not one of them), 9 states do not conduct federal criminal background checks, and 27 states do not check to determine if the applicants are banned from carrying a gun under federal law.
Today, many armed security guards are working with mental and substance abuse issues, criminal backgrounds, minimal training and little oversight over their gun usage. This is a serious problem.
To fix it, we are calling on the U.S. Congress to create federal standards to include mandatory training, mental health evaluation and reporting of records, and a national database of armed guards and their gun usage.
The armed security guard who took my son's life was fortunately arrested and charged with murder; however, he should not have been working as a “hired” armed security guard in the first place. He had several criminal convictions, was discharged from the U.S. Navy due to alcohol related incidents, and had past drug addiction that required treatment, as reported by his mother in court documents. Since being in jail, he has been diagnosed with a mental illness by a licensed psychologist.
These startling facts reflect a scary reality for our country: states are licensing individuals without taking the necessary precautions to ensure the applicants do not pose a potential threat to the public once they are legally protected to carry deadly weapons. So while we remain devastated by Kijuan’s death, we believe there is purpose in everything and want to turn our tragedy into triumph by helping to create a safer country with what we feel are common sense measures.
Please sign this petition and help our family push for the Kijuan Lamar O’Neal Byrd Law to create federal standards for the armed guard industry.
The Byrd Family
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