About a month ago I was sent an email from a church security leader that was bringing a request to his deacon board to allow some of the security guys to open carry their weapons while serving. Wisely, one of the church elders was requesting that this person reach out to people in the security networks to get various other input on this subject. I did not respond with an answer right away but asked two questions. What was the purpose of wanting to have an open carry? What training and certification process was there to reduce the liability to the church regardless of how the weapon was carried.
I got back a 3-point response and a description of the training and qualifications he would have.
Let’s look at Deterrence. I am sure there are those on the fringe of gun-rights activists that believe this to be true. When it actually makes them a greater target for someone bent on doing evil. Someone who is an open carry person is most often someone who is looking for attention. There is often an issue with pride or arrogance in their life and they feel that this is a point that can help fill that need for recognition in their life. I often use a phrase a friend of mine says (Lt. Col. Dave Grossman), I love the open carry guy, he’s my decoy. There is no tactical advantage for the open carry guy. I have a greater tactical advantage from my concealed posture then the open carry guy.
When it comes to speedy defense this is a training issue. Most people that have a retention holster for open carry are no faster than someone that trains from concealment. If a person is fumbling around for their concealed handgun then they have not trained enough or properly. When there was a ministry in town that wanted their security persons to have open carry in the already security office building that was a non-public environment but they could put their suit coats on when needed, I bought a retention holster and walked around my house for 2 weeks practicing my draw stroke as I would practice from concealment. I am fairly certain that my 1.4 second average draw from concealment would be a tough one to beat from an open carry retention holster guy.
Finally, on normalizing weapons. In reality you there will never be a “desensitizing” of the public that will ever happen. If the country gets to the point where I have to carry my weapons for protection (not counting my day to day carry now) and food, those that needed to be desensitized will already be dead or will be soon. This point isn’t even logical and speaks more to the mindset of the person choosing to carry open.
From a ministry standpoint, it does not communicate a welcoming and inviting environment. If I were to go up to a person that was a DLR to talk with about whatever was alerting my Spidey senses and I do it with an approach that looks like a militant armed response, and as is often the case there is no concern but they are just there for the first time, how do you think they feel about attending this church in the future. The church has got to be there for the hurting and the broken and we can’t forget that.
And since security teams should be primarily out in the parking lots greeting and observing people coming in they would be working from concealment anyway. So far to date, everyone that has murdered people in a church has come through the front doors and could have/should have been identified in the parking lot prior to coming in to do harm had there been a properly prepared and trained security team. Addressing the situation once they are in the building is too late as the church two weeks ago found out as they lost two lives that did not have to die had they been better prepared and trained.
In our seminars I have talked about the discussion between having and armed and unarmed church security team but have added the open carry question as well. I have also brought this up to several security persons that I highly respect. Many of which are former LE or Military that not only have a heart for standing on the wall while ministry is done and are equally passionate about doing church security through prevention. These people were shocked and disturbed that this would even be considered for a church. I will be doing a podcast with one of these professionals in the very near future. There is far more that can be discussed here then what I have done here.
I have been blessed to have been able to travel with Lt. Col. Dave Grossman for about 6 years now and have repeatedly heard him address this subject. I have incorporated what he says about the open carry guy in my seminars. Col. Grossman says that he LOVES the open carry guy. Because the open carry guy is his decoy giving him that much more precious time to respond to a situation. I had a former LE friend say at one of seminars that the open carry guy is a bullet catcher.
In all honesty I did have to go out and get a retention holster because there was a ministry headquarters that wanted me to provide firearms training to their key staff. Since they are in a building that has limited public access and often times have to dress a certain way that is not easily conducive to the concealed carry but would conceal once they left the building. I walked around with an empty gun practicing my draw stroke so I was ready to both train and should the day as described earlier come, I was ready. The open carry guy is often times just trying to draw attention to himself which is primarily a heart issue of pride and arrogance and those are qualities that we do not need on a church security team.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.