PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — In an effort to increase safety for their patrons, some nightclub owners in Providence are making a push for their bouncers to carry weapons.
Some clubs in the city have police officers standing watch outside the building while others have private security guards to keep the peace. The city’s Board of Licenses is now considering a proposal to arm those security guards, but Providence Police Major David Lapatin isn’t convinced it’s a good idea.
“You’re putting more guns in nightclubs,” he said Tuesday. “So if an incident happens and you have armed security and they pull their guns out and you start a firefight, a lot of innocent people could get hurt.”
Lapatin said one nightclub recently told the Board of Licenses it’s considering hiring an armed security team, and the board is asking the police department for its opinion.
“We’re trying to look at other cities around the area that have armed security guards at nightclubs and ask them if they’ve had any problems,” added Lapatin.
One of Lapatin’s biggest concerns is that private security guards aren’t trained the same way as police.
“I don’t think there’s any sort of mandate that says they have to have some sort of training other than qualifying with a pistol once a year,” he explained.
Lapatin said his department plans to do more research before submitting its formal opinion.
There’s no timeline yet on if or when the Board of Licenses will take action on the proposal.