Considerations for a Texas Church Volunteer Safety Team

The following points are items that we would recommend all church organizations that want to implement a volunteer safety team (pursuant to Texas Occupations Code § 1702.333) consider before doing so.  Once your organization has answered these and any other questions that come up in the creation of your team, we recommend that all policies be written down in a volunteer safety handbook.  In the event of a lawsuit against the church, this handbook can serve as evidence that your organization has given due consideration to how the team will function and the safety issues involved, rather than simply allowed anyone who wants to be on the team to participate.

Apart from putting everything to paper in a written handbook, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions or methods for implementing a volunteer safety team.  All of your decisions should be based on your church’s needs and capabilities. If you or your church governing body would like to discuss any of your ideas with us or see if we can help come up with other ideas, we would be happy to talk to you any time.

  • Volunteer Safety Team”
    • This is a suggestion for what to call your team, as the word “security” is strictly prohibited by statute
    • You are free to choose any name for your team, as long as the word “security” is not used
  • Selection Process – How will you choose your team members?
    • Qualifications
      • The church governing body should determine a minimum level of experience for members of the team
      • What type of experience should they have?
      • Do you want minimum/maximum age requirements?
      • Do you want all members to possess a Texas License to Carry (LTC) before being admitted to the team?
      • Do you want to require specific types of training (i.e. active shooter, emergency response) before applications will be accepted?
    • Application
      • Should be written – In the event of a lawsuit, you can produce all team member applications to help show that you took care in selecting the team members
  • Team Size
    • How many team members does your church need?   Likely, this will be based on the size of your church, the congregation’s average numbers, and/or the number of entrances to the building.
    • Will you have alternate or reserve team members who will serve if the regular members are absent?
    • Will any alternates or reserves be available for larger events?
    • Will all members be present for every church service, or will you have enough members to have them on a rotating schedule?
      • If so, how will you communicate the schedule to members?
  • Training
    • Do you want your members to have periodic training?
      • How often will your members be required to attend training?
      • What kind of training will be required?
        • Range practice hours
        • Emergency response
        • Active shooter
        • Emergency First Aid and/or Gunshot Wound training
      • Will the church provide training, or will members be responsible for it?
    • Have procedures for team members to report/document their training in writing
    • How will you address noncompliance with training requirements?
      • Probation, removal from team, etc.
  • Weapon Restrictions
    • Will you have caliber/model restrictions for members?
    • Will you have restrictions on certain types of ammunition for carry in the building?
    • How should members carry (open or concealed)?
    • Will you post 30.06/30.07 signs for the rest of the congregation?
  • Coordination
    • What means of communication will team members have during their time on duty?
    • While we don’t recommend one particular method alone, two-way radios should be considered in the event of a natural disaster that may prevent adequate cell phone coverage
    • Will you have one senior team member who will make decisions if an incident is reported?
  • Removal/Resignation Procedure
    • Have a procedure for documenting complaints/infractions/etc. both by and against team members
    • Document everything
  • Plan of Action for Emergency Situation
    • A representative of the team or the church governing body should attempt to reach out to local law enforcement and/or the local fire department to help coordinate a plan of action in an emergency situation
    • Plans should be developed for active shooter, fires, medical emergencies, domestic disputes, etc.

 


Helping Texas Gun Owners

Since we opened our office, one of our primary goals was to better serve fellow gun owners and Second Amendment-supporters throughout the state of Texas. We’re proud to say we’ve formed LLCs for Federal Firearms License (FFL) dealers, drafted estate planning documents for folks with small and significant gun collections (including NFA items), drafted NFA “Gun Trusts,” helped gun ranges with real estate issues and assess liability, and probated estates with small and large gun collections.

We’ve talked around the state regarding current gun laws, the intersection of the 4th Amendment and gun laws, civil liability of gun owners, and how to decipher provisions of the Texas Penal Code regarding gun laws.  We’ve also helped interpret new legislation (2017 was interesting), assisted churches with forming Church Security Teams, and tried to answer anything we can legally pertaining to firearms.

Basically, we’re here to be of service to the firearms community in Texas.  If you need any assistance with business formations, estate planning, NFA Trusts, real estate law, or probating an estate, our knowledgeable gun-owning attorneys would be happy to speak with you, regardless of where you are in the state.  We have several services that we offer state-wide and would be happy to speak with you about any other firearms-related matters we could assist with.

Feel free to call us at (281) 973-7255 — we keep our phones open from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM – Monday through Saturday.

You can reach us by email at [email protected]com or the contact form on this page.

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