There has been some talk on this forum regarding arming teachers. I also know that many of you are involved in security teams at your church. I see enough similarity in those two categories that I am posing the question as if it pertains to both. You’re welcome to disagree with that assumption.
I would like to know what you are doing or suggest should be done in terms of starting or expanding an armed school staff or armed church security team. Do you have different recommendations for a paid school staff member versus a volunteer church security team member?
This question assumes that it is legal to arm staff or volunteers. It further assumes that you have no former or off duty law enforcement officers to be involved.
Topics that I think are appropriate and important are these. Feel free to respond to any or all of these points.
#1. What are the personal qualities or personality traits you would want for your armed staff/security team? That is, how do you pick who you allow to be a part of the team?
#2. Do you have/recommend an application process for an armed staff/security team member? If so, what’s on that application?
#3. Do you require concealed carry “insurance” such as USCCA or similar?
#4. What training requirements do you have? Is your state’s concealed carry permit training good enough? Do you require a specific amount of annual training? Do you require specific training courses or topics to be covered?
#5. Do you have any kind of periodic qualification? If so, do you use a specific course of fire?
#6. What does your organization pay for? Ammo for training and practice? Pistol? Holsters? Training? Travel to training?
#7. Do you have a recommended or required reading list?
1, 2, 4 & 5: This should be a local issue. Local school boards should be allowed to work with their local police departments to determine who can be armed at school and what their training requirements will be. My one recommendation to any school district is that the list of teachers certified to carry should be kept strictly confidential. Any potential school shooter should have to consider the uncertainty of where he’ll meet resistance.
3: Coverage should be through the school district and/or certifying police department. I’d recommend USCCA membership for personal use, but I wouldn’t expect USCCA to cover a work-related incident.
6: If everything is local, travel expenses should be minimum. How the other expenses are divvied up can also be a local decision. Personally, I don’t mind using my own cash to qualify so long as I can use it for my other annual requirements.
1,2 4, & 5: I wholeheartedly agree on the confidentiality issue. I also think a potential attacker is likely to scope out the environment and either a) avoid the armed individual or b) shoot him or her first. Then the next likely victims will be those in close proximity to the armed security person. In a church security situation this could very well be the team member’s family.
3: Many church insurance companies have security operations coverage. However, some organizations have coverage for volunteer church security members. I am not sure if USCCA does. In the case of a private Christian school, an armed staff member might be considered to be a volunteer security team member even while doing other official employment duties.
6: Agree. There’s no way that the armed staff/security member is going to have all of his expenses covered anyway. He’s got to have some skin in the game in my opinion.
7: Books I’ve read are as follows. Not sure I’d put all of these on a recommended reading list. But the purpose of this question is simply to establish that the potential team members have a personal interest in the topic and have put some effort into it.
On Combat by Dave Grossman
Evil Invades Sanctuary by Carl Chinn
The Gift of Fear by Gavin Debecker
The Unthinkable: Who Survives when Disaster Strikes and Why by Amanda Ripley
In the Gravest Extreme: The Role of Firearms in Personal Protection by Massad Ayoob
The Law of Self Defense by Andrew Branca
The Church Safety and Security Guidebook by Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company
Majory Stoneman Douglas High School Initial Report
US Secret Service Mass Attacks in Public Spaces (some years)
In Utah, as I’ve posted here before. School Teachers with CCP can carry in class, the schools can’t ask who has a permit or a firearm.
The schools have rules that say something like "You can’t store your gun in any school proper, like a desk, locker etc. You must have complete control of your firearm at all times, thus, you have to have it on your body.
I currently serve on the security staff at my church. I am the only one that does not have any background in the military or law enforcement. I do not make the final selection of who gets to join the team, but my input is always welcomed.
#1- We prefer people who can blend in well, and not look like security. We like friendly people who are willing to engage in general conversation but can still keep an eye on what is going on. Someone who does not get lost in their cell phone and can pay attention to their surroundings.
#2- There is a basic application that has to be filled out, providing some criminal history and approval to run a background check. You also have to have been serving on another team for at least 1 full year. This way there are other leaders in the church that can speak to your character.
#3- No concealed carry insurance is required if you are not paid staff, but it is provided through the church if you are.
#4- You must pass a shooting qualification if you have no military or law enforcement background, which is monitored by one of the lead security staff members. As law enforcement, you still have to pass your department’s qualifications.
#5 We do not have to requalify, as volunteers, but I am sure to get as much training as I can, to keep my skills sharp.
#6- My organization does not provide anything to me, as a volunteer, and I am not sure what is provided to the paid staff. I may ask if anything can be provided, just to see what they say.
#7- There is no required reading list, but I am open to any suggestions that anyone has. I am always open to gaining knowledge.
Personally I start not by talking about “arming teachers”, but rather, getting rid of the infringement on the Right to keep and bear arms, simply stop making schools “gun free” (but not really) zones. Just get rid of them as off limits, and let people carry there, legally, as they do other places.
I like KISS and less government involvement. And this is absolutely best in the confidentiality/privacy/not having a list that WILL eventually be leaked of know has a special “privilege”
Now, for the “team”, an organized thing, I think schools are necessarily going to be far different from churches due to how many schools are public/government and churches are clearly not, so I don’t really have any experience to draw from for those questions. I would definitely want some kind of standards for an organized thing of assigning people various responsibilities in a private setting like a church.
I hear you loud and clear on the arming versus infringement language. However, there is such a thing as employee liability, unfortunately. I can imagine a scenario in which staff or church security team members are allowed to be armed, do the wrong thing and the school/church is sued.
Similarly to how employers are allowed to curtail first amendment rights and prohibit employers for saying certain things in certain situations, employers and property owners are allowed to limit second amendment rights. I’m as pro 2a as they come, but I’ve also been the guy who has had to work with attorneys to handle two different law suits on behalf of my employer. We have certain employees where I work or certain folks in my church for whom I would not want to accept liability for their actions. What the legal environment is versus what it should be are two different things.
I should have included private school context in my opening post.
You think schools would accept liability for teachers actions if the teachers chose to carry concealed and it was legal under state law to do so? Like, the schools would have to prohibit it (…and public schools could do so without running afoul of state preemption) or the schools would be liable?
I’m not sure it’s a matter of what schools accept so much as what the law will hold them liable for. I’m making some assumptions that the school would be held liable. I’m not a lawyer. So I could be wrong.
I also know that some insurance companies demand to see the private school’s policies on these things.
We are having our first safety meeting next Saturday at church sense the move from Michigan Tech to the old shopco building
brought up the matter at a small group gathering Memorial weekend , so typical feet draging
one of the pastors lived down in Kenosha during the riots
sez he went to a neibor’s house to borrow a fire arm to protect his house
starting to seem like I am pushing a rope but I cant let it go.
the lay out is enter the building then hang a right into a large hall way
to a common area, the nursery and little kids area is at the end of the hall way
if a shooter starts laying down fire the missed shots will go threw their area
walls are metal stud and 5/8 drywall so the rounds will pass threw
sorry for venting it just a nightmare waiting to happen
Im’ not a lawyer either. There could already be examples, there are already jurisdictions where schools are not off limits.
And there are of course tons of other locations, businesses, colleges, preschools, non educational businesses, etc, where it’s legal and allowed to carry…are all of these places being sued because an employee made a decision to legally carry?
Maybe it is a risk they take, legally, I wouldn’t know, I just have a hard time with the way it completely sidesteps personal responsibility and accountability and Liberty to say we can’t let people do something because somebody else will be sued.
Edit: And I have a hard time accepting that disarming everybody so that only the attacker has a firearm is in any way a good idea…if somehow the school would be sued because the law allowed teachers to carry, obviously that whole setup needs changed because continuing to rely on responders from somewhere else to respond and show up however later isn’t working
NO ONE can require you to notify anyone or receive permission to carry a firearm.
Firearms must be possessed as provided in district/school policies. Always have your firearm concealed on your body at all times. The firearm CAN NOT be in a desk, briefcase, or bag where a student or anyone else may gain access to or steal the firearm.
For example; the Jordan School District Policy Manual, AA409 – Scope of Employment states, “District property may not be used to hide, cover or secret a firearm. A lawfully concealed firearm must be within the employee’s immediate control at all times. Employees must recognize that students could gain access to a firearm that is not properly concealed, or controlled. Therefore, employees must use good judgment and strictly follow the law and this policy.”
As far as liability goes:
" (2) The person using deadly force in defense of persons on real property under Subsection (1) is presumed for the purpose of both civil and criminal cases to have acted reasonably and had a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or serious bodily injury if the trespass or attempted trespass is unlawful and is made or attempted by use of force, or in a violent and tumultuous manner, or for the purpose of committing a forcible felony."
I don’t see the lawsuit coming from a decision to carry as you’ve stated. And I’m not trying to be unkind or nitpick your words. Just want to be clear about my concern. The concern is that if an employee does act on the job and does something injurious with that firearm, the employer can be held liable. I’ve had more than one attorney tell me allowing folks to carry within a school context is bad idea for this reason. (Of course one could wonder the political leanings of these attorneys and I’ve worked with other attorneys who land somewhere else.) I’m sure you can tell that I’m not completely sympathetic with those first batch of attorneys.
From what I’ve read, there are three possible positions for an organization to hold on allowing staff or even church congregants to be armed. 1. Prohibit firearms completely. We all know that doesn’t work. This is not something I would want to do. 2. Say nothing and allow everyone to do what they want. 3. Allow only certain persons to carry. This third option is where I would land for staff and volunteers. (I would not tell congregants they cannot be armed.) Why? At least two reasons.
First, there are some staff I don’t trust with a gun. I’ve been to the range enough with people who should know how to shoot but who can’t shoot with anything. Also, some staff have tempers. How does that work out with liability? Your teacher is known to use her tongue like a sword and can’t control that. Why did you think she’d be self-controlled with a gun? Yes she’s passed all the required background checks and screenings. But still… I hope you can see how someone can be good enough to be a teacher but not someone you’d want carrying a gun.
Second, if you only allow certain folks to carry then you can set training standards, etc. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think the average citizen should have any training requirement whatsoever to carry a gun. But at least in my opinion, someone carrying in the context of employment where there is some level of liability, and who is carrying to stop an active shooter in the midst of an area where there are lots of kids…that’s entirely different. Staff and volunteer security should have a high level of training. Not so high they can’t get it, but high enough that there is some probable competency.
Another benefit of training as I see it, is if it is found out that school staff or church security members are carrying there are some folks that will criticize this decision. Training requirements are a defense against that.
I appreciate the input and even the pushback where my opinion may not be universally accepted. That’s why I’m here.
Also, I agree that disarming everyone isn’t the solution. But I’m respectfully not completely sure (notice how I phrased that) it’s a good idea to allow everyone to be armed without a training requirement within the context of employment. I totally understand why some don’t like this position. And I honestly don’t completely like that position either.
This is where we may be commenting from slightly different angles.
I’m not so much talking about “arming staff”, or having a security team or a response team or expecting staff to do ____ (not really talking context of employment, as we can’t talk that until it’s legal to start with), I’m just talking about the overarching first step that, IMO, should be “stop making it illegal”. And perhaps that extends to public schools have preemption and they can’t prohibit staff, but that doesnt’ mean they have to support staff or task staff with defending the school or task them with responding (because they wouldn’t even know who may or may not be armed, which I think is a big factor…nobody knows who)
Now, I agree, there should be high standards if you are going to designate persons XYZ as the active shooter response who have that job as part of their employment.
I suppose I would call that phase II, and wouldn’t worry too much about it until after the first part of baseline legality is fixed
(and I think schools, non lawyer opinion, would be okay from liability if the state law says it’s legal and preemption covers/prevents at least the public schools from saying different)
I appreciate having my point of view challenged and having others come at it from a different angle.
I’m on the same page when it comes to freedom. And on the same page if we were talking about public schools. The context I’m discussing is private school. I didn’t make that clear in the opening post. And maybe it doesn’t or shouldn’t matter. Ironically, if it were a public school it wouldn’t be legal in this state but it is legal at private schools.