Security at Texas churches is about to get a big boost. In September, churches will be able to arm members of their own congregation, rather than hire private security firms under SB 2065.
Security at churches has been top of mind after horrific scenes like the 1999 tragedy at Wedgewood Baptist in Fort Worth and more recently in Charleston, South Carolina.
"You can't just tell everybody bring your guns to church and here we go, it needs to be people who are legally allowed to carry," said retired Hurst Police Officer and church security expert of Sheepdog Seminars, Jimmy Meeks. He believes the new law will soon give churches more choices for security.
Under current legislation, in order for churches to have armed security they must hire a private licensed company or officer. The new bill will allow congregations to make up their own security teams with members who are legally allowed to carry a gun on a volunteer basis only, but that person cannot wear a uniform or badge portraying themselves as "security."
It's a bill that has been the subject an ongoing discussion in Austin.
"The waters are no longer muddy as of September 1st. They're more clear now and you just realize.. hey we can protect our own flock without employing an outside service," said Meeks.
State Representative Matt Rinaldi released a statement to NBC 5 that read in part: "The passage of SB 2065 ensures that churches are empowered to make their own decisions about how they want to implement their security policies without jumping through unnecessary training and licensure hoops."
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There will be a church security seminar at North Pointe Baptist Church at 147 E. Hurst Boulevard in Hurst on Saturday, July 29 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. For more information on the seminar visit www.sheepdogseminars.com.
SB 2065 goes into effect on Sept. 1.