- Mailing Address: P. O. Box 248 | Aubrey, TX 76227
State Security Laws and Regulations
We get calls from people almost every day about forming security teams in different states. The question is usually if state law requires security licensing for armed security teams. There is a lot of misinformation circulating. This article is not meant to be legal advice, but a snapshot as to how to start the process. It can be quite a challenge and a complex research project. Not only does it involve the state authorities but sometimes the city or county law enforcement authorities. Each state has its own laws with different requirements and penalties, from fines to jail time.
Colorado - Colorado is regulated at the county and municipal level. In the city and county of Denver a security company or church must have a merchant guard license and post a liability bond. This is for both uniformed officers and plain clothed personal protection or executive protection work. Training is up to the licensed company. In Colorado Springs, only uniformed security is regulated. As far as we know the rest of the state has no security regulations.
Oklahoma - Both armed and unarmed security are regulated. Training by a state licensed security trade school and licensing under a state licensed security company is mandated.
Texas - An armed volunteer church security team requires nothing other that a gun. No training, licensing, liability insurance, background checks, not even a license to carry. Just get your gun and get to blasting.
For a full listing of regulations by state please click here to download the pdf file.
At a glance:
Here is a matrix developed by Church Mutual insurance company from one of their presentations. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the intel but it may help you start the process:
Why we have regulations and laws?
We ask, what is the value of training, licensing and liability insurance? There are those that insist that there is no need for states to regulate security services. Their premise is that security training isn't necessary and should not be required for someone to be task with preserving the peace for gatherings of the public (like your church service).
An example of persons who think regulations and laws are only "tyrannical government" under the guise of "religious liberty " is the new "Texas Church Vigilante Senate Bill 2065". "Harsh, cumbersome and expensive" are among the labels now attributed to old professional security regulations that make sure that the officers that patrol our neighborhood churches are adequately trained. State representatives are petrified of opposing the bill under the premise of fear of being branded as coming out against the safety of churches.
They have now unleashed throngs of untrained pistol packing parishioners on the unsuspecting public in their churches, please indulge me as I bring you a perspective from a person who has lived within the existing laws regarding security of houses of worship for over a decade in Texas.
Under Texas Senate Bill 2065 there are no background check, absolutely no security training and no financial responsibility in the form of liability insurance. Anyone could put on firearm and merely say "I'm a volunteer, so I'm exempt from all regulations."
Amid the fear mongering are tails that Texas law enforcement is rounding up people who are innocently just watching their children or walking in the parking lot. This is the new "fake news" to get churches exempt from any type of training so they can act as police and security officers.
Old Texas security regulations mandated that security officers are actually trained in legal security protocol and procedures. These include non-lethal hand-to-hand defensive tactics, non-lethal intermediate weapons, handcuffing and arrest and detainment procedures.
Texas SB 2065 basically said that persons that perform the function of a professional security officer don't need training and subsequent licensing because they don't need it and can't afford it.
In Texas, there are currently 68 professional occupations that require a license. Everything from an acupuncturist to a solid waste technician. Would you go to an unlicensed doctor to have an operation? Would you promote that people don't need auto liability insurance? Would you think that we don't need police who are trained in non-lethal force methods? This is the premise of Texas SB 2065. If all the training is a gun the old saying goes "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." We have professional licensing as a safeguard against persons who would perform services that need formal training and financial responsibility without the proof of such, like licensing and insurance. Under SB 2065, churches would designate persons with absolutely zero required security training to be task with the security of large gatherings of people. No insurance would be required in case of wrongdoing or inadvertence mishaps.
In the Texas state house DHS committee meeting on March 7, 2017 we heard from a gentleman that insisted the training and licensing wasn't needed because these church security people were only doing security work for a few hours a week. That's like saying a brain surgeon that only operates on your brain on Monday mornings a few hours don't need training or licensing.
There was also an argument that no background checks are needed because churches "know their people".
As far as cost goes:
You can have zero accountability at zero cost or reasonable accountability at reasonable cost.
With accountability comes cost. There is no free lunch! If you pay nothing for something, that's usually what it is worth.
I hope this helps you understand the issues involved in forming a church security team. These are my opinions and I'm sure there are other opinions.
Highest Regards and God Bless.