The October 2018 attacks on the synagogue in Squirrel Hill, Pennsylvania, the murder of nine Bible study participants in 2015 and others have left clergy and parishioners wondering about their safety even in a house of divine worship. The idea of armed security guards in churches, mosques, temples and other places of worship, raised by the POTUS, is not a new idea by any means.
Clergy and their flocks remain as divided on the issue of guns in church as they are on many other hot social issues. Some Christians would argue they should live like Jesus, who was a non-violent man. He was quoted as saying in the Gospel of Matthew (NIV) 26:52, “Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” This incident occurred even as Jesus was betrayed and knew he would be executed.
Another might quote Psalms 144:1, “Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.” Or the Gospel of Luke 22:36-38, when Jesus said, “If you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” For what is a clergy if not a shepherd, and what is a shepherd but one who protects his flock?
Places of Worship Considered Soft Targets Without Armed Security Guards
Admittedly, there are some clergy as well as parishioners who are against the very notion of guns in a place of worship. This holds even though some have thousands in attendance at worship and thousands of dollars in tithes or offerings. It must be a leadership decision to allow armed security guards.
However, even in churches, temples, mosques and synagogues, people need to feel comfortable enough to bow their heads and pray without having to keep one eye open. If they can’t feel comfortable, they are likely to stop attending.
If it is decided armed security guards are not allowed in the place of worship, perhaps better is in the parking lots and outside the doors, where armed intruders can be deterred before entering. Whether in the house of worship or on the grounds, just because these armed security guards are hired by a religious entity does not mean they do not have to meet Texas state laws and weapons training requirements.
Some congregations have hired former law enforcement (LE) and military to take on the responsibility. Many would caution against this. Although LE and military are trained in weapons handling, reacting to a threat and the use of deadly force, there are separate training requirements for armed security guards, including the proper response. When you hire armed security guards, you must consider all legal requirements, because, ultimately, their actions are your responsibility.
Hire Professionally Trained & Ready Armed Security Guards
There are three requirements not all former LE and military will have:
- Current and ongoing weapons handling training
- Thorough background checks and drug testing
- Appropriate response and first aid training
Everyone loves the troops and first responders, but many come with baggage. Let the professionals weed out the unsuitable. No place of worship wants a loose cannon with drug or PTSD issues directing a response to an intrusion.
Many situations, even with armed intruders, can be resolved through dialogue. In any situation, it is good to know professionals trained with the appropriate response are available when dialogue fails, even in a house of worship.
Western Eagle Security – The Professional Provider of Armed Security Guards
Western Eagle Security provides uniformed and equipped, unarmed as well as armed security guards, depending on your requirements. We do the difficult things, like background checks and drug testing, and providing training, uniforms and equipment to our guards. We make sure they are where you need them to be when you need them there. We can also upgrade your security system with CCTV and monitor those systems for you 24/7.
Call Western Eagle Security, (281) 496-6800, to schedule an appointment for a security appraisal. After we complete the free appraisal, we can sit down and go over our suggestions regarding your requirements. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can use our online contact form.