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Pastor Forming Armed Security Team for Church

Discussion in 'Carry Issues' started by Willieboy, Mar 25, 2010.

  1. Willieboy

    Willieboy

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    The Pastor at my church sent me an email asking me to attend a meeting next Sunday to learn about a security team the church is forming. A Houston police sgt. will be addressing the group and talking about security issues in general and the churches weak points in particular. The pastor sent me the email because he knows I am one of four or five guys who carry at church.

    I think this is a good idea because, while church services are in session, there are two groups of children in another part of the church. One group is made up of toddlers who are being entertained/supervised during the service and the other group is attending Sunday school.

    Our church is kind of out in the sticks and I would have thought it would be relatively safe but, these days, I wonder if that can be taken for granted.

    What do you guys think of the Pastor's idea. Armed men in God's house to protect the folks.
     
  2. ZaneC

    ZaneC

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    I think it is a great idea. I moved from Van Buren Arkansas to Tulsa 5 years ago, but even back then the church I attended had security (armed). It was made up of off duty LEO and Professional Security personnel. You can't be to careful with kids and as it turned out, they prevented a child from being nabbed by a parent who no longer had custody over the little boy and was heading out of state. No one was hurt and the security team did it's job well. Koodos to your Pastor.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2010

  3. fgutie35

    fgutie35

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    I'm pretty sure pastors and priests and reverends and rabbis know well that evil does not exists only in spiritual form.:cool:
     
  4. tsghrm

    tsghrm USAF Ret 1996 CLM

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    After the New Life Church shooting in Colorado Springs, the Director of Security left his position at the church and formed the National Association for Church Security (NACS) www.nationalchurchsecurity.com. One of the founding members there is a lawyer by the name of Adam Weitzel who wrote the following article titled "Church Security: Concealed Weapons and Cowboys"

    The most common phone call I receive from religious institutions on security issues is how to deal with concealed weapons in a church, synagogue, temple, or mosque (for convenience, I refer to all houses of worship as "churches"). Currently, only two states, Wisconsin and Illinois, and the District of Columbia do not have laws that allow qualifying citizens to obtain a permit ("CCW Permit") to carry a concealed weapon, almost always a handgun. A few states, including Kentucky, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, and Missouri, do not allow CCW Permit holders to carry ("Carry") a concealed weapon inside a church. In at least one state, Ohio, Carrying inside a church is prohibited, unless the church permits otherwise. In most states, however, CCW Permit holders may Carry in church unless prohibited by the church.

    A church is private property, even though it is generally open to the public. Thus, churches have the right to control who is armed in their buildings.

    Profile of a Cowboy
    When discussing church security, I use the term "Cowboy" to refer to those well-intentioned parishioners who Carry in church without serving on the church's security team. The term does not include off-duty law enforcement officers, but it could include retired officers. Some church leaders across the country openly boast of the Cowboys in their congregation and, implicitly or explicitly, rely on Cowboys to provide security. Others are concerned about the potential liability Cowboys bring. While both raise valid points, every church should make an informed decision on how to deal with Cowboys after considering the practical and legal risks involved.

    Practical Risks of Cowboys
    In most states, obtaining a CCW Permit requires a minimal level of training. Generally, a person must demonstrate that they can load, unload, and safely handle a handgun. In a few states, but not all, a person must further demonstrate minimal competency with the handgun at a shooting range. No state, however, requires any form of tactical training before issuing a CCW Permit. A CCW Permit does not mean the holder knows how to safely clear a room, provide cover contact, or take out a bad guy in a room full of bystanders. Thus, Cowboys bring the risk of an untrained response which increases the likelihood of injury from tactical mistakes, missed shots, and excessive or unnecessary use of force.

    Also, Cowboys are not an integrated part of your church's security team and are not trained on your security plan. They do not know how others in the room, who may also be armed, will respond to any given situation. If an incident occurs, the Cowboy does not know if the other armed people in the room are good guys or bad guys. Likewise, your security team may not realize the Cowboy is not an additional threat. Any good security team will immediately put the Cowboy on the ground and disarm him. The best case scenario is that the Cowboy simply delays your security team's response to the real incident. In the worst case, innocent people may be injured or killed.

    Legal Risks of Cowboys
    Cowboys may also saddle your church with legal risk. It is possible to inadvertently "deputize" a Cowboy, rendering your church liable for injuries they cause.

    In Jacobsma v. Goldberg's Fashion Forum, a man was shopping with his wife when he saw the store manager chasing a shoplifter down the aisle towards him. (303 N.E.2d 266 (Ill. Ct. App. 1973)). The manager looked at the man and shouted, "Stop thief" while pointing at the shoplifter. The man responded and tackled the shoplifter, dislocating his shoulder in the process. He spent four weeks in a body cast recovering before suing the store for his injuries. The court found that the manager's cry of "Stop thief" was a call for assistance, and the man (being the only man in the store other than the manager and shoplifter) reasonably believed to be directed at him. Further, the man's attempt to restrain the shoplifter was a benefit to the store. Those factors transformed the man's legal status from that of an "invitee" to a "volunteer." In other words, the manager "deputized" the man, and, as a result, the store was liable for his injuries.

    It is easy to imagine how similar scenarios could play out in a church setting. An intruder enters the service, whether to cause injury or disruption, and the pastor calls out, "Stop him" from the pulpit. A Cowboy hears the call and reacts, injuring the intruder, other parishioners, or even the Cowboy himself. Ultimately, someone seeks damages from the church's "deep pockets," and the court has to determine whether the Cowboy reasonably perceived the pastor's statement as a call for assistance reasonably directed at him. If the church knows it has Cowboys, and either boasts of their presence or takes no action to limit them, it is easy to see how a Cowboy could be "deputized."

    No responsible church would place someone on its armed security team without first conducting a background investigation, reviewing the applicant's experience and training, and providing competent training of its own. Take steps so that you do not inadvertently "deputize" Cowboys.

    Wrangling in the Cowboys
    In some states, private property owners can post signs to restrict Carrying, which, when properly posted, makes Carrying a criminal act subject to the same penalties as Carrying in statutorily protected places, such as schools and state buildings. In all states, private property owners can post signs to limit or restrict CCW Permit holders from Carrying, often making it a trespass to Carry. If your church is going to restrict Carrying, post the right sign in the right locations. Some states have statutory language that must be used. In Texas, the language comes from the statute and must be posted in English and Spanish. In Kansas, the statute has specific rules for the size, color, background, and location of the signs. Most states allow the property owner to select the appropriate wording. I generally recommend, "Carrying of concealed weapons prohibited," or "Carrying of concealed weapons prohibited, EXCEPT by members of the church's security team." Some churches also like to include a graphic of a handgun with a red slash across it, similar to "No smoking" signs. The location of the signs is also important. Again, state or local law may dictate the location. Otherwise, signs should generally be posted at each entrance.

    Finally, if your church is not going to restrict Cowboys from Carrying, consider asking them to inform a member of the security team or church staff that they are Carrying, so that the security team can respond appropriately. Do the same for off-duty police officers. Also, ask your Cowboys not to draw their handgun if the church's security team is responding, and to holster it once the security team or law enforcement arrives. It is often helpful to inform Cowboys that your church has an emergency response plan in place. Consider giving them a copy. One church I work with invites all CCW Permit holders to a quarterly meeting to discuss these issues and to possibly recruit new members to its security team.

    Adam L Weitzel is an associate in RJ&L's Colorado Springs office. His practice focuses on business and nonprofit organizations in a variety of legal matters, including real estate, general corporate law, business transactions, taxation and finance, and other general contractual matters. Mr. Weitzel can be reached at 719-386-3006 or by email at aweitzel@rothgerber.com.


    Article link http://www.rothgerber.com/showarticle.aspx?Show=1264

    While I do not agree with his basic premise that concealed permit holders might be "cowboys", he does make some interesting points.

    Food for thought.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2010
  5. MarcoPolo

    MarcoPolo

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    We have LE acting as "traffic control".. they also happen to be armed. ;)

    I have personally seen 3 instances where I thought things could get out of hang very quickly... all 3 involved estranged Dad's trying to pick their kids up from church.

    In all 3, I don't think the workers had any clue it was getting out of hand.

    Good on your church for being proactive.
     
  6. txinvestigator

    txinvestigator

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    You should tell your pastor that he might want to call the Texas Department of Public safety Private Security Bureau. 512-424-7710 and speak to licensing. Texas has laws regarding the providing of security.

    If you want to PM me I can point you to laws and administrative rules, but here is an opinion ruling about church security;


    The carry of firearms seems to require licensing. I tell you this as violation of the Private Security laws are a class A misdemeanor.
     
  7. flyerI

    flyerI

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    It's a sad statement about the society we live in today. We have two men outside during services to watch for any suspicious activity and have training on how to handle different situations. Some of them are armed. Several inside are armed at any given time. Our building with young children stays locked except for a short time while parents are bringing in and picking up children. Clergymen live with threats on a daily basis now. In fact my father did 30 years ago. There are just crazy people out there and no place is safe any more.
     
  8. GlockPreacher

    GlockPreacher

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    We're a small church in a rural area, but as the pastor and advocate for CCW, I had also talked about this same thing with a few guys in church who I know also carry... No official team has been formed as of yet, but I do know they carry anyway...
     
  9. MarcoPolo

    MarcoPolo

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    This is incorrect.

    As far as liability, I completely agree with the section discussing "deputizing" them. A pastor at our church who knows I carry asked me if I would walk a particular hallway and "keep an eye on things" as I was armed. I declined, stating that I was not LE and could not perform that task as, essentially, and "armed guard".

    In that regard, I think churches need to be careful of placing folks in a formal role.
     
  10. MarcoPolo

    MarcoPolo

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    After I re-read the post from the NACS, it's disturbing. It is inaccurate, and appears to be making recommendations which could cause churches to violate state law.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2010
  11. IndyGunFreak

    IndyGunFreak

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    I agree... At first I thought.. "Hmm.. good idea".. but they are going about it completely backwards.

    While large churches could afford to have off duty police, or contract security, etc.. small congregations simply could not swing this cost. It is therefore up to the members to provide security.
     
  12. kywoodpecker

    kywoodpecker

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    Where in Kentucky law does it state that you cannot carry concealed in church? I cannot find the law.
     
  13. IndyGunFreak

    IndyGunFreak

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    I don't think it is... Wasn't it Kentucky where the church made the news because the Pastor held a "Bring a Gun to Church" night, or a picnic or something?

    Edit: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/29/us/29guns.html

    Ignore the ignorance of this author(he's neither pro gun or anti gun.. yeah right)
    http://www.walletpop.com/blog/2009/06/26/kentucky-church-holds-bring-a-gun-to-church-night/

    IGF
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2010
  14. Caver 60

    Caver 60

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    IN Missouri it depends on where in the law you want to go read about carry in church.

    A CCW permit holder can carry in the church, if they have the permission of the pastor or people in charge of the church. Another place in the law seems to imply they can carry without asking permission. I'd recommend erring on the safe side and asking permission if you're going to do it.
     
  15. GunFighter45ACP

    GunFighter45ACP

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    In Texas, if you want to do this legally, and use non LEOs, your church will need to have either:

    1. a Private Security License/Letter of Authority* to use uniformed armed security employees/volunteers

    2. a contract w/a licensed security company to provide armed/plainclothes (PPOs) who would act as this security force.



    * LOAs do not allow for PPOs
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2010
  16. IndyGunFreak

    IndyGunFreak

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    OK.. so in order to "legally" have security at the church, they would need to be licensed. What if they have 20 members who just agree to be armed every Sunday, and maybe rotate Sundays watching the doors?

    From what I can tell on handgunlaw.us, church carry is legal as long as you're not notified under 30.06
     
  17. Blitzer

    Blitzer Cool Cat

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    Many church members and pastors in Ohio would recoil at the thought of one defending themselves, liberals. :upeyes:
     
  18. Dragoon44

    Dragoon44 Unfair Facist Lifetime Member

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    While I am not up on Texas law I do not know of many states that require volunteer security to be licensed. They would need to be licensed if they worked off site or were paid employees hired as security.

    But I seriously doubt they have to be licensed if all they are is volunteer "security" on private proeprty.
     
  19. Palouse

    Palouse The Resistance Lifetime Member

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    I attended a church that had security, but they were off-duty cops, and it was mainly for the offering.
     
  20. poodleplumber

    poodleplumber

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