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Background Check Legislation Takes Huge Step Forward in U.S. Senate

Posted By Bob Ogle, Monday, September 17, 2012

Judiciary Committee Clears Bill That Would Allow Security Companies to Access FBI Database

The Electronic Security Association is pleased to announce that a major legislative priority for the association – gaining access to the FBI’s database for criminal background checks of potential security industry employees – has cleared a major hurdle in the U.S. Senate.

Language from the "Electronic Life Safety and Security Systems Federal Background Check Act” was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, Sept. 13 as an amendment to another bill, the "Child Protection Improvements Act.” That bill, S. 645, now includes the language as a separate provision. The entire measure is expected to head to the floor of the Senate, where it can be scheduled for a vote. The amendment was sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), a Judiciary Committee member and the sponsor of S. 1319.

ESA Director of Government Relations John Chwat said that Sen. Schumer has promised to fight on behalf of ESA and the electronic security industry to get the bill scheduled for a vote on the Senate floor as soon as possible, given the compressed time frame remaining in this session of Congress. Congress typically adjourns in mid-December.

If the bill passes the Senate, it would then move to the House for a vote before it could move to President Obama for signature into law. It would be the culmination of years of intensive ESA efforts to give electronic security companies the same access to background checks that is currently available to other industries, including banks, credit unions, aviation, and nursing and home healthcare.

Chwat praised the participation of ESA members and chartered chapters in getting the measure through the Senate. In particular, he said, Illinois Electronic Security Association (IESA) Executive Director Kevin Lehan led a grass-roots effort among the chapter’s members to generate letters and phone calls of support to Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), who had expressed some concerns about the bill.

"ESA utilized the strength of its members to get this legislation through the committee, which was the first obstacle to overcome,” Chwat said. "Networking by the IESA was instrumental in our success through their contacts with Sen. Durbin. ESA members and chapters deserve a huge amount of credit in this first-step victory. It was a great grass-roots effort that we will build upon to finally secure passage of ESA’s effort to access the FBI’s Federal background check system.”

More information is available by contacting Chwat’s office at (703) 684-6594, or via e-mail at

Tags:  background  Government Relations  legislation 

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