With the frequency of mass shootings tripling from 2011 to 2014, armed security in churches has moved to the forefront as a crucial topic of discussion in today’s CHURCH WORLD! David Galloway, with LOUISIANA CHURCH INSURANCE INC., is a requested speaker across the state at church conferences to discuss this insurance risk. Partnering with local law enforcement agencies, he has been able to help churches with the “do’s and don’ts” of armed security or “courtesy teams”. Recently there has been a legislative change to the requirement of carrying concealed in a House of Worship. As your agent, we feel it critical to keep you informed so you can make the best decisions for your church.
Louisiana’s Governor, John Bel Edwards, signed Senate Bill 402 which loosens rules on conceal handguns in Louisiana. The original law passed in 2010, required anyone carrying a concealed gun in a church, synagogue or mosque to take eight hours of tactical training each year. Senate Bill 402 removes this requirement for 8 hours of annual tactical training, effective August 1, 2018. The state is passing the buck to insurance companies and churches to decide how much training needs to be done.
It does not appear that the church insurance companies are going to mandate a required number of required Tactical Training hours. Thus, you, the church will have to decide how much training is enough and ensure that you are in compliance.
Since the issue of an accidental shooting in a church has not been litigated, there is no precedent to establish how much training is necessary before you are considered negligent. My opinion is that a church should have a minimum of 20 hours a year. One of our Parish Sheriff’s Department is teaching Tactical Training to churches (free) and they suggest 32 hours a year. The more training hours, the better your defense will be if involved in litigation.
Additional training can prove beneficial for the safety of the security team and the congregation. The training can be in-house such as practicing different scenarios on site or being trained by a professional. There are several reputable training companies that post on our Facebook site if interested in a professional trainer. www.facebook.com/louisianachurchinsurance
Churches who choose to allow concealed carry are still required to inform their congregation of the decision. If you have questions about whether concealed carry and/or additional training is needed for your organization please feel free to call our office. Visit our website www.louisianachurchinsurance.com for helpful documents that can aid in setting up a “courtesy team” in your church.