Q A number of businesses have private security guards who openly carry firearms. Are they required to obtain a permit under Section 97-37-7? May the city require insurance and/or training for these security guards?

A Because Section 93-37-7 was passed prior to the “open carry” law (HB 2, 2013 Session); it only requires permits for armed guards who carry concealed weapons, not ones who openly carry firearms. While a municipality may place regulatory requirements on certain businesses, Sections 45-9-51 and 45-9-53 prohibit a municipality from requiring insurance based solely on the fact that the businesses employ armed persons. In regard to the authority of a municipality to require armed security guards located within the municipality to undergo safety training and firearms instruction, Section 45-9-51 specifically prohibits the adoption of an ordinance that “restricts … the possession … of firearms,” and an ordinance such as described could be construed as restricting the possession of firearms. A gun-neutral ordinance, requiring insurance and safety training for businesses that employ security guards, without reference to whether such security guard are armed, would appear to comply with Section 45-9-51. (Attorney General’s Opinion to Watkins, September 18, 2014)