Your Guide to Security Guards & Firearms

As an Albertan business owner or property manager, security is likely your top priority. You want to ensure that your employees, customers, and assets are always protected. One question any Calgary security services company can tell you are accustomed to hearing regarding protection is whether security guards in Alberta can carry firearms. Learn everything you need to know about the regulations around armed security guards in Alberta and help you make an informed decision about your security needs.


How Security Guards Are Licensed in Alberta

First, it’s important to understand that security guards in Alberta are licensed by the Alberta Justice and Solicitor General’s Department. This licensing process includes the following:  

  • Background check
  • Training
  • Testing to ensure guards are qualified to provide security services.

The types of services that security guards can provide vary depending on their level of training and licensing.

can security guard carry firearms

Types of Licensed Security in Alberta 

One type of license that security guards can obtain is the “unarmed” license. As the name suggests, this license allows guards to provide security services without carrying weapons. Unarmed guards can still offer a range of services, including patrolling, monitoring security cameras, and responding to alarms. They may also manage access to a building or property and provide customer service.

Another type of license that security guards can obtain is the “armed” license. This license allows guards to carry firearms while providing security services. However, it’s important to note that not all security guards in Alberta are authorized to carry firearms. To obtain an armed license, guards must meet certain requirements and undergo additional training.


Requirements & Responsibility of An Armed Security Guard

One of the main requirements for armed security guards in Alberta is to have a valid firearms Possession and Acquisition License (PAL) from the RCMP. This license demonstrates that the guard has completed the training to safely and responsibly use a firearm. Guards must also meet additional training specific to armed security services, including firearms safety and handling, shooting accuracy, and decision-making in high-pressure situations. However, even with a firearms license, security guards are only authorized to use them in specific cases and must follow strict regulations and guidelines. 


Not Every Calgary Security Company Has Armed Guards

It’s also important to note that not every Calgary security company offers armed security services. So, how are armed services provided? The Alberta Solicitor General’s office must license a security company and have certified armed guards on staff. Companies that offer armed services are typically specialized and may focus on high-risk environments, and will employ an armed, uniformed security guard for places such as casinos or banks.


Why Hire Armed Guards?

So, why might you hire an armed security guard in Alberta? One reason is that armed guards can provide an additional layer of deterrence against potential threats. Criminals may be less likely to target property or business if they know a uniformed security guard is armed on-site. In addition, armed guards are trained to respond to potentially dangerous situations, such as an active shooter or violent altercation. Their ability to neutralize a threat can help prevent injuries or fatalities.


Understanding the Disadvantages of Armed Security Guards 

It’s important to consider the potential risks and drawbacks of having armed security guards on your property. 

  1. Risk of accidental discharge or misuse of firearms: It can potentially result in injuries or fatalities and lead to legal issues for your business or property. In addition, armed guards can sometimes escalate a situation rather than defuse it. 
  2. Cost of hiring armed security guards: Because of the additional training and requirements involved, armed security services are typically more expensive than unarmed services. Depending on your budget and security needs, this may or may not be a feasible option for your business or property.
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