Church security group completes tactical training
“The times they are a-changin.” So sang Bob Dylan back in 1964, but it would also seem to be true now in 2017.
Last year the Mississippi legislature passed House Bill 786, the Church Protection Act, which provides immunity from civil liability for members of a church’s security program if they use physical force to defend church members.
As legal documents go, this one is Spartan. In order to establish a security program churches must:
1. require each participant to possess a firearms permit;
2. confirm that each participant has completed an instructional course in the safe handling and use of firearms;
3. maintain a written record in the church minutes of the names of the members to be made available to law enforcement upon request during the course of an investigation after an incident in which the member used a firearm while acting as a member of the security program.
Although this law was motivated by an unprovoked attack two years ago of church members in Charleston, South Carolina, our area recently suffered a similar tragedy when a gunman entered a church near Philadelphia and randomly killed a church worker.
It is understandable that some churches and their pastors may be reluctant to implement drastic self-defense measures, but other churches have decided to be pro-active.
One metro-area church has mobilized a Church Security Team of fourteen led by a fellow church member, who wished to remain anonymous for security reason, who also serves in the Mississippi National Guard and commanded a 150-man security force when he was assigned to Afghanistan.
The team members have already completed a four-hour, in-house, classroom session. Eight of their members also successfully completed a four-hour Tactical Handgun Course last month at Precision Shooting Center in Forest.
Precision Shooting Center is owned and operated by Clyde H. Morgan, originally from Forest, who now lives in Brandon. He is retired from the military and has a Master’s degree in Religious Education and also a combined doctorate in Adult Education and Criminal Justice. Morgan was one of the instructors during the team’s in-house, classroom session.
The Tactical Handgun Course was designed and constructed by Morgan based on his knowledge as a Mississippi Certified Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor and his combat experiences in Vietnam in 1968-69.
Morgan feels strongly that the decision to be a member of a church security team should not be made lightly. In his opinion, a prospective member should ask himself four questions:
1. Am I willing to take human life?
2. Am I willing to give First Aid to the assailant I have shot?
3. Am I willing to accept responsibility if I accidently shoot and possibly kill a fellow church member?
4. Am I willing to give my life for a fellow church member?
Although possession of a concealed carry permit and completion of an instructional course in the safe handling and use of firearms are essential pre-requisites for serving on a church security team,
Morgan thinks that basic level of knowledge in no way prepares a person to survive a gunfight. So that others may attain a higher level of handgun competence, Morgan offers his Tactical Handgun Course, which is composed of three stages:
Stage 1: A 6-round exercise that is designed to determine the shooter’s basic handgun ability.
Stage 2: A 24-round exercise that requires the shooter to get behind cover and engage stationary, running, and pop-up targets at three different distances.
Stage 3: A 24-round exercise that requires the shooter to engage single and multiple assailants at close range after drawing his concealed handgun.
To Morgan’s knowledge, there is no comparable training course available in Mississippi. For additional information, you may contact him at MorganOutdoors@aol.com.