The security week that was: 07/11/08

Tests of gun bans impact security departments

Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court overturned a Washington, D.C. gun ban, and the implications could be significant for security professionals. What started out as a case filed on behalf of a security officer now has the potential to affect security directors and government officials everywhere.

What's interesting about the Supreme Court decision is that Scalia, in writing the decision, did allow for what he called "reasonable restrictions" on guns, and it's clear that government buildings and schools can still legally restrict guns.

Not long after the Supreme Court's decision on the D.C. gun ban, Georgia changed an existing law and in doing so, allowed for the carrying of handgun's while using public transportation. Then, a Georgia gun rights group filed suit alleging that allowance of concealed weapons on public transportation should apply to airports. Officials at the Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, of course, responded quickly and said that they wouldn't change their policies, which bans guns at the airport.

However, the issue almost came to head, with Representative Tim Bearden, who was responsible for making the state law's gun ban changes, stating that he would test the boundaries of the new Georgia law by carrying a concealed weapon into the main airport's public areas. Apparently, he wasn't fully prepared to test the limits of the law. Despite early promises to test the law on July 1st, Bearden did not carry a weapon into the airport as he originally had indicated. He said, however, that he would test the law in court, rather than in a high noon scenario at Atlanta airport.

And while the issue with Bearden and the gun ban at the Atlanta airport (which is the busiest passenger airport in the U.S.) has died down for now, this issue seems ripe to crop up again wherever bans are currently in place.

What does this mean for security departments? On the most basic level, it means it's probably time to contact your legal aid and review your policy books to see whether you have clearly spelled out a policy on possession of weapons on your property and at your facility.

Making News
New access control firm, growing integrators, more

Even though we seem to be in an era of security industry consolidation, where so many of the independent security technology providers have been purchased by global-level companies, new firms continue to appear. On the latter side, Baran Advanced Technology announced this week that it was creating a new access control technology firm, Baran Access Solutions. The company will be presided over by Bill Newill, who many in the industry know from his days as a V.P. at Secura Key.

Surveillance Specialties is growing its business. The company has made back-to-back purchases of other integrators/dealers, including Advance Lock(mechanical access and door controls) and Boulos Security Systems (integrated video, access control and fire systems).

Speaking of growing integrators, the SecurityNet integrators alliance has added new members: Access Control Technologies (ACT), based in Clifton, N.J.; Access Systems Integration (ACI), based in Hazlet, N.J.; Intelli-Tec, based in Westbury, N.Y.; and MidCo, based in Burr Ridge, Ill.

DNS gets fixed: The Domain Name System is the system that translates website security names (like into the actual IP addresses (numbers) used to route traffic on the Internet. Apparently there was a major weakness to the way that computer systems associated the site's name with the actual numerical address, and the concern was that "phishers" could redirect legitimate website requests to phishing sites where they could solicit the customers' personal info like bank account numbers and other private information. Fortunately, the flaw was caught and a major patch roll-out is occurring now to update computers.

EVT and Vivotek are linking their video surveillance solutions. Vivotek, which makes IP surveillance cameras, and EVT, which offers a video management solution, are partnering such that Vivotek's cameras will integrate directly with the EVT platform.

Finally, we close with a look at our most read stories of the week: