Contract security guards at federal buildings across the country would be able to carry firearms and detain people, under legislation making its way through the House.
The legislation, passed by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee May 20, would give the Federal Protective Service the ability to let private security contractors working for the agency carry firearms in federal buildings regardless of state laws. Right now, the agency follows state laws regarding firearms.
The bill also gives security guards the right to detain people without a warrant if they see them breaking the law or if the guard has reasonable grounds to believe they have broken the law
While the Public Buildings Reform and Savings Act of 2015 mostly deals with reforming federal real estate and leasing management, the bill also includes several provisions related to FPS, which guards General Services Administration buildings across the country.
The provisions help FPS address regional issues in managing its workforce, according to the office of Rep. Andre Carson, who put the provision into a larger bill reforming the federal leasing process.
For example, if FPS wants to move contracted security from Indiana to Chicago, it faces challenges involving the two states and firearms laws and cannot easily move personnel to where they are needed.
By providing a national framework for carrying firearms and for detaining people it makes it easier for FPS to keep track of the training and certifications needed, according to Carson's office.
"I am pleased that my recommendations to strengthen and improve the Federal Protective Service have been included in this legislation," Carson said in a statement. "As a former law enforcement official, I believe it is imperative that we do everything possible to protect the millions of federal workers and daily visitors, and to keep federal buildings safe.
FPS would also need to establish minimum uniform training standards for its contracted security workforce, according to the legislation.