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OSOS Security Services

OSOS SECURITY SERVICES

We Value the Safety of Our Clients

15 Frequently Asked Questions to Get Your Security Guard Card in California

You have questions, and we have answers. If you can't find what you're looking for in our FAQ section below, use our online submission form to ask Jeff.

Ask Jeff 

How much will the guard card cost me in total? 

The initial 8 Hour Guard Card course is $50 at OSOS Security Services. After you take the 8 Hour Guard Card course, the government fees listed below are subject to change at any time. We try to keep the list current, but the government can change them at any time without our knowledge. 


$55 BSIS Application Fee (paid directly to BSIS) 

$112 (price varies DOJ and FBI Electronic Finger Printing (paid to LIveScan operator). 

Most UPS stores do Live Scans but call before you go to make sure their time of operation and fees. 


View our California BSIS approved Guard Card training courses 


What is LiveScan?

Live Scan is a system for the electronic submission of fingerprints and the subsequent automated background checks and responses. Live Scan is required for Guard Card and Firearms Permit Applications.

Applicants should use the appropriate Live Scan Form available on the Bureau's website. It contains the correct coding needed to ensure the Bureau receives the required information promptly. Failure to Live Scan with the proper form will delay the processing of your application. Please select the Live Scan form below based on the registration or license that you currently hold:

Security Guard

Security Guard with Firearms Permit 


Can I get a guard card even if I have a criminal record? 

It's best to contact BSIS directly to answer this question before taking the Guard Card class. The nature of the crime, whether it was related to the duties of a Security Guard, the length of time elapsed since conviction, any evidence of rehabilitation, or mitigating circumstances are all considered when deciding whether or not to deny licensure. 


Bureau of Security and Investigative Services

2420 Del Paso Road, Suite 270

Sacramento, CA 95834

(916) 322-4000

1-(800) 952-5210

FAX (916) 575-7290

[email protected]

How long is the California guard card training?

The initial training to get the California guard card is eight hours. Within 30 days of licensing as a security guard, you need an additional 16 hours of continuing education. Within six months of licensing, you need extra 16 hours of continuing education for a total of 40 hours of training within the first year from the date the guard card was issued.
Check out our Guard Card Classes 

How old do you have to be to get a guard card or Firearms Permit in California?

The minimum age requirement for a Guard Card is 18 years of age.

The minimum age requirement for a Firearms Permit is 21 years of age. 

How long will my guard card be valid? How long will my firearms permit be valid? 

A security guard registration is valid for two years.

Firearm permits expire two years from the date of issuance. An applicant must requalify four times during the permit's life: twice during the first year after the date of issuance and twice during the second year. 


Requalifications must be at least four months apart.


Contact us for requalification at 415-519-3549

Can Security guards carry guns off duty in California? 

Security guards in California are allowed to carry a firearm while on duty in uniform with a valid firearms permit. Possession of a guard registration and exposed firearms does not permit a security guard to carry a firearm while off duty unless the guard travels to or from their residence, worksite, or firearm range. In addition, you can only carry a firearm of a caliber with which you have qualified for on the range and which is printed on your firearms permit.


A security guard who carries a concealed weapon while on duty in civilian clothes possesses and carries both the guard registration card and exposed firearms permit issued y the Bureau. You must satisfy one of the following three requirements:

(1) possess a concealed weapons permit (CCW) issued by a local Sheriffs Department

; or

(2) be an active duty peace officer employed as a security

guard/bodyguard by a private patrol operator, or by the person or the entity being

protected; or

(3) be an honorably retired peace officer, with an endorsement to carry a

the concealed weapon, and employed as a security guard/bodyguard by a private patrol

operator, or by the person or entity being protected. 



How do I get my firearms permit? 

Security guards must obtain the BSIS license (Bureau of Security and Investigative Services) for a firearms permit. This means they must complete an assessment for BSIS Firearms Permit to show that they can carry and use a weapon while they’re performing their duties. The license is issued for two years and the Bureau requires an armed security guard to re-qualify four times during these two years. The reason for the re-qualification is to show continued competency in carrying and using weapons on the job. 


Contact us for more information for your re-qualifications


Please send us an email at J[email protected] or call Jeff at (415) 519-3549 and we will reply. 

Do I need a permit to carry a baton?

To carry a baton, security guards must complete 8 hours of training from an approved instructor. According to the state education requirements, security guards that have guns at the place of their employment must undertake state-mandated training and must continue their education in the future. For a security guard to carry a baton, they must complete 8 hours of training from an approved instructor. Security guards may be trained in using the baton and have received your baton permit; you may not carry the baton until you have a valid guard registration card. Keep in mind that your baton permit will authorize you to carry a baton while on duty, while directly en route to or from your home, to your worksite with a valid security guard registration. 

How do I notify the Bureau of my change of address?

If you have changed your address or name on the initial Guard Card or Firearms application, you need to complete an Address Change form. Submit this form by email to [email protected]; fax to (916) 575-7290; or mail to the Bureau at the address:

P.O. Box 989002

West Sacramento, CA 95798-9002

P (916) 322-4000 (800) 952-5210 │F (916) 575-7290 │www.bsis.ca.gov

Please note that mailed forms take longer to process. 

Can I carry a firearm when I receive my guard card in California? 

 For a security guard to carry a firearm on the job, they must first take a firearms course and go through background checks before carrying a gun on duty. To have weapons on the job, security guards must obtain the BSIS license (Bureau of Security and Investigative Services). This means that they must complete an assessment for BSIS Firearms Permit to show that they can carry and use a weapon while they’re performing their duties. This includes demonstrating sound judgment and self-control according to their requirements. A security guard is to use a gun only if necessary and if their life is threatened. 


A security guard who carries a concealed weapon while on duty in civilian clothes possesses and carries both the guard registration card and exposed firearms permit issued y the Bureau. You must satisfy one of the following three requirements:

(1) possess a concealed weapons permit (CCW) issued by a local law enforcement

agency; or

(2) be an active duty peace officer employed as a security

guard/bodyguard by a private patrol operator, or by the person or the entity being

protected; or

(3) be an honorably retired peace officer, with an endorsement to carry a

the concealed weapon, and employed as a security guard/bodyguard by a private patrol

operator, or by the person or entity being protected. 

What is the Psychological Assessment for a firearms permit? 

A BSIS Security Guard registrant seeking an initial BSIS Firearms Permit must complete an assessment to determine whether they possess, at the time of the evaluation, appropriate judgment, restraint, and self-control to carry a firearm while on duty. The assessment is named the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16pf), a personality test used in various settings, including employers of protective services personnel (e.g., police officers, firefighters, and security guards). The fee is $60.00. The price is paid directly to PSI and must be paid before an assessment appointment can be scheduled.


The bureau has contracted with PSI Services LLC (PSI) to administer the 16pf assessment. PSI is an industry leader in administering licensing, credentialing, and public safety tests and has 23 testing centers located throughout California where the evaluation can be taken.


For additional information on completing the assessment, please review PSI's Firearms Assessment Information Bulletin.

Can a security guard make an arrest?

Security guards generally fall into this category of private citizens. A "citizen's arrest" is defined by Black's Law Dictionary as follows: "A private person as contrasted with a police officer may, under certain circumstances, make an arrest, generally for a felony or a misdemeanor amounting to a breach of the peace."


Because security guards are not police officers, they have the same authority as citizens unless some circumstances exist. For example, specific local ordinances may grant certain police and or arrest authority to the security guards. It's best to check with what state laws and regulations apply to where you are working. 




Can a security guard detain someone?

The security guard must have a reason or factual basis they can articulate to detain a person lawfully. This basis is called reasonable suspicion. The definition of reasonable suspicion is when a security guard has enough facts and circumstances to make it reasonable to suspect that criminal activity is occurring and the persons detained are connected to that activity.


When a security guard takes an action that limits another person's freedom, they have to make sure that they act in a manner that would seem logical and obvious to a reasonable and cautious person. This common-sense standard is something the security guard will hold in almost everything they do.

Can a security guard ask a person for their identification?

If the security guard makes a consensual encounter, they can always request that the subject identify themselves. But remember, there is no requirement that they do so. Additionally, there is likely no crime if the subject lied about their identity during a consensual encounter (however, possession of a fraudulent ID may be a crime). Many security guards don’t understand how people can lie about their identity and get away with it. What the law requires is a person identifies themselves during a consensual encounter. There may be a requirement the suspect identify themselves during investigative detention, but not a consensual one. Remember, this is a consensual encounter and not investigative detention.


Asking a person for identification does not convert a consensual encounter into investigative detention as long as the identification is requested, not demanded; and The security guard returns the identification as soon as practicable. Otherwise, a reasonable person may no longer feel free to leave.

OSOS Security Services Guard Card Training

We offer BSIS-approved security guard card classes, exposed firearm permit training, and requalification courses for professionals in the security, alarm, and private investigation industries. We also offer the 8-hour BSIS annual security guard refresher course to keep your Guard Card in compliance. Learn more about our security guard and firearms training services today.

Learn More

OSOS Security Services Blog

An ongoing series of security informational entries

Our Latest Blog Entry

June 5, 2021

5 Reasons Why Security Guards May Play a Critical Role in Future Law Enforcement 

Security guards play a critical role in protecting people, property, and assets. With a historic rise in crime on the rise, security officers are in high demand and always will be. This blog post will specifically shed light on five reasons why security guards may act as an essential part of future law enforcement in helping protect business, property, assists, and other essential places.

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