Eddie Sorrells, CPP, PSP, PCI
One factor aggravating concerns about workplace violence in corporate America is the easy availability of firearms. In many states, citizens, including employees, have the right to carry firearms onto a company’s property even though firearms are prohibited in the workplace. In effect, an employee prone to violence may have a firearm as near as their vehicle in the company parking lot. Currently, 23 states in the U.S. have so-called “parking lot storage” laws, which enable employees to store firearms in their vehicle’s trunk or glove box despite any corporate ban on weaponry. The laws have evolved as an expression of the Second Amendment “Right to Bear Arms” in the last decade or so. There is some variance in the laws from state to state, but they generally allow a citizen to carry a gun to and from work and keep it stored out of sight in their vehicle. Global Security Exchange (GSX) is the new branding for ASIS International’s annual conference and trade show Employee Second Amendment rights “The laws contend that employees should not have to give up their Second Amendment rights between home and the workplace and should be able to have a gun with them for protection from their front door at home to the front door of the workplace,” says Eddie Sorrells, Chief Operating Office/General Council of DSI Security Services. Sorrells will speak about the current state of the laws, how they came about, the nuances of state-to-state differences, and the possible impact on overall corporate security in a session titled “Employees Who Carry: Preventing Workplace Violence” at the upcoming GSX conference in Las Vegas, 23rd - 27th September. Global Security Exchange (GSX) is the new branding for ASIS International’s annual conference and trade show, attended by more than 22,000 security professionals from 100-plus countries. Sorrells’ session will be Sept. 24 from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. Restrictions on gun visibility Employees may think the “right to carry” extends to the workplace, but the right only extends to the parking lot. The company still has the right to ban guns inside the premises. However, it is unlawful in some states for companies to search vehicles in parking lots, and companies who do so are violating the law, says Sorrells. Among the various state laws, some exempt public education institutions and other public venues. Depending on how the laws are written, there may be other exemptions, too. In Florida, for example, the law exempts any organisations that have explosives on site. With weapons on a company's property, a high-risk termination could potentially become violent Most laws require weapons to be stored securely out of sight. However, in Alabama, for example, it is legal to store validly permitted guns in full view during hunting season, Sorrells says. A resident of Alabama himself, Sorrells has been in the contract security business for 27 years, working mostly in multi-state operations. He has worked for 500 or so corporate security organisations throughout the country and is a practicing attorney who has studied issues of workplace violence and active shooters. “There is a political element to these laws, which were created with the goal of protecting Second Amendment rights,” says Sorrells, who says he sees arguments on both sides of the issue. However, political opinions aside, “if you’re a business owner, you have to contend with dozens of weapons on a company’s property,” he adds. “That could be an issue if a high-risk termination could potentially become violent. You have to assume there is a weapon in that person’s vehicle.” Sorrells' session will dive into the case law and illuminate some of the legal issues and how courts have addressed them GSX education program After the session, Sorrells hopes attendees will take away a good working knowledge of the state of the laws, how to comply with the laws, and issues such as posting of signs. The session will dive into the case law and illuminate some of the legal issues and how courts have addressed them. The timely session is an example of the valuable information attendees can gain by attending GSX. Sorrells has been attending the yearly ASIS International Conference and Exhibits for more than 20 years, at least since the mid-1990s. As the pre-eminent security organisation around the world, ASIS International provides unrivalled educational and networking opportunities at the yearly conference, he says. “There is a vast amount of networking and educational offerings on a wide variety of topics, including technology, legal issues, risk management, workplace violence, consulting, and anything under the sun,” says Sorrells. The newly branded GSX education program is led by subject matter experts from ASIS International, InfraGard (a public-private partnership between U.S. businesses and the Federal Bureau of Investigation), and ISSA (Information Systems Security Association). Sessions will deliver valuable, actionable takeaways to help attendees shape their security strategies. There will also be an exhibition of 550-plus suppliers and manufacturers highlighting the latest security solutions.
A blockbuster keynote lineup, revamped education programme, revitalised networking events, and a reimagined exhibit floor energised ASIS International’s 63rd Annual Seminar and Exhibits (ASIS 2017) last week in Dallas, Texas. The show, organised by the association for security management professionals, convened September 25-28 and attracted 22,000 global registrants from 96 countries. The event was produced in partnership with InfraGard and ISSA and drew positive reviews from attendees, exhibitors, and industry partners. ASIS 2017 attendance “There was an unmistakable buzz in Dallas. Despite several natural disasters around the globe in the weeks leading up to our show, security professionals came out in droves to exchange ideas, best practices, and experience first-hand the most innovative products and services on the market,” said Thomas J. Langer, CPP, 2017 president of ASIS International. “From the standing-room only education sessions to the jam-packed exhibit hall, ASIS fulfilled its promise to deliver the security industry’s premier event.” Keynote speakers share security perspectives Keynote speakers set the tone for each day, with George W. Bush, Mark Cuban, and Scott Klososky sharing their perspectives on the current threat landscape and the risks/potential of innovative technologies reshaping society and the way we do business. The Global Responses to Global Threats panel of international security experts focused on private-public sector collaboration, and Carey Lohrenz closed out the week with a call for fearless leadership. Eddie Sorrells, CPP, PSP, PCI and Chief Operating Officer/General Counsel of DSI Security Services commented, “I don’t remember a conference that had a more dynamic and impressive slate of speakers.” "From the energy on the show floor to the one-on-one executive-level conversations that occurred, I found great value in the opportunities ASIS 2017 provided" ASIS education sessions The education program featured more than 180 sessions spanning the security spectrum from ASIS, InfraGard, and ISSA subject matter experts. New education formats—including deep dives, case studies, and mock trials—provided a more immersive and interactive learning environment for attendees at all experience levels. New this year, Global Access LIVE! provided live streaming of select education sessions and keynotes. First time attendee Rick Derks, CSO, FCS Financial, noted that ASIS 2017 offered “an opportunity to interact with thought leaders from both the operational and the cyber communities in meaningful discussions. The event was executed flawlessly, and I was impressed by the professionalism of everyone involved. Due to my positive experience, ASIS International now has a new member.” Veteran attendee Mike Howard, Chief Security Officer, Microsoft noted, “the changes implemented for this year’s event made a huge impact across the board. From the energy on the show floor to the one-on-one executive-level conversations that occurred, I found great value in the opportunities ASIS 2017 provided.” Reimagining the exhibit hall The reimagined exhibit hall featured more than 575 exhibitors showcasing new and emerging products and technologies such as machine learning, robotics, forensic analysis, and artificial intelligence. The floor also hosted two “impact learning” theatres, a career centre, international trade centre, virtual reality zone, and the ASIS Hub—a one-stop shop for all things ASIS including fireside chats, council booths, and livestream interviews from Security Guy Radio. “ASIS 2017 delivered a prime audience to promote our software solutions that leverage emerging technologies such as mixed reality, artificial intelligence and machine learning,” said Drew Weston, Director of Sales and Marketing, CodeLynx. “The addition of the high-quality content on the show floor not only offered us an opportunity to learn ourselves, but drove attendees and ‘buzz’ to the exhibition. We had consistent booth traffic and positive interactions with buyers, and have already reserved our spot for Vegas.” "The addition of the high-quality content on the show floor not only offered us an opportunity to learn ourselves, but drove attendees and ‘buzz’ to the exhibition" Exhibitor satisfaction was at an all-time high in Dallas, reflected not only in the feedback, but in space selection for ASIS 2018 in Las Vegas. Coming out of the 2017 event, 80% of the net square footage from the show floor has already been committed for 2018, with 35 companies increasing their space allocation. In addition, notable brands like Mobotix Corporation, Ford Motor Company, UrgentLink and others not exhibiting in Dallas have already committed for next year? Premier security networking event ASIS 2017 also enhanced its networking event line-up with an Opening Night Celebration on Sunday, September 24 at Gilley’s Dallas and the President’s Reception at AT&T Stadium on Wednesday, September 27. Both events drew significant crowds and provided ideal bookends to an intensive week of security solutions and professional development. In conjunction with the event, ASIS gave back to the Dallas community through its Security Cares program, featuring free security preparedness and prevention education for small/medium-sized businesses and community institutions. ASIS also awarded CityLab High School with a $22,000 grant and additional in-kind donations from Axis Communications to support campus-wide security upgrades. “The benefits of this show reach well beyond those who attended a session or toured the exposition floor,” said Peter J. O’Neil, CEO, ASIS International. “Attendees leave empowered with the information, professional network, and exposure to products and services they need to protect the people, property, and assets entrusted to their care. And throughout the year, they know they can turn to their ASIS community for support and peer advice. Our year-round commitment to excellence and reinvestment in the security profession is what differentiates the Society and our event.” ASIS 2018 takes place September 23-27 in Las Vegas, Nevada, in partnership with InfraGard, ISSA, and a robust lineup of supporting organisations.