Here is a recent question from one of our members. The state that they live in does permit CCW carry in the church.
Church Security Alliance
Living in WV, we have the possibility of attendees conceal carrying. In discussions with church leadership and members of our security team, we are concerned that while the security team is handling a situation, someone not on the team, might draw their weapon, intending to assist, but actually escalation the situation.
We are a small security team, with an average of 4 members on duty for each service. Our church holds almost 2000 members. Our members are under cover, so other than stating that we are security if we interact, we are non distinguishable from regular members.
I am wondering if other churches are facing this same situation, and what their solutions are. One member of the church leadership suggested placing signs stated the church as a no gun area, but I believe in WV this will only stir the pot. Others have suggested holding a church safety training for concealed carry holders, but this would have to be volunteer and how to ensure that all that carry attend.
I would welcome any input on this subject, and I will let you know what our response is.
A Church Security Member
Our response is as follows:
This is an issue that many churches face. It is somewhat easier in areas where express permission is required to carry in church. But, as I am sure you understand, is an emotionally charged issue. Many gun owners firmly believe in the second amendment and that this trumps federal and local laws that interfere with this right. If you frequent many of the on line gun forums, you will hear the phrase “concealed means concealed”. This phrase is typically used to state that protecting the members of your family reigns supreme and that you must carry but keep a very low profile. If the need arises, deal with the situation and face any issues after stopping the threat to your family to you.The result of this is that even where CCW is not permitted in a church but is in the state, many will carry to church given the violence that does take place.
When you live in a state that has carry in the church, the chances for friendly fire increase. Considering the independent nature of many with CCW licenses you should plan that there will be someone besides your team that will have a sidearm. With this in mind there are several possible solutions to help avoid a friendly fire incident.
Have a means to identify your security officers. this can include a Clip on ID Card, a security ID Banner or a security Badge on a chain or worn on the belt.
The other recommendation would be to have the pastor announce that there is a security team in place to handle security issues and to permit the team to deal with any situation that occurs. This is a message that could also be sent by email to the church family. As part of the announcement he could request that any church members that CCW please introduce themselves to the security staff, if necessary designate a contact person, or have a public meeting for those people to discuss security issues with the staff.
I am also looking into a door sticker that I viewed at a church were we presented a security seminar. It was an octagon sticker that stated ” Armed Security on Campus”. We might need to have this custom printed and are looking into it. What I like about this was that visitor could see the decal when they entered the church.
While these recommendations might not be the final solution, I believe that this is a step in the right direction. I look forward to hearing your comments on these thoughts and which direction your church decides to go.
Church Security Alliance