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Texas Security Church Coalition holds meeting ahead of new Texas law that grants civil immunity to church safety teams | #schoolsaftey

TYLER, Texas (KETK) — Over the years, school safety laws have increased and now we are seeing it happening for churches and religious organizations.

In just a few weeks, a new Texas law will give church security teams more protections. Senate Bill 694 is authored by East Texas State Senator Bryan Hughes.

It aims at protecting safety teams at houses of worship who remove or use force on anyone who is disrupting service. 

East Texas church leaders came together in Tyler to learn more about how they can increase safety in their pews.

“There’s no one immune to violence these days. They are looking to hurt as many as they can. If they take out a small church they will do as many as they can, so we need to do something about it,” said Mike Collins, owner of the Texas Church Security Coalition.

The bill will grant civil immunity to church security and safety teams.

“If action is taken by a security team member to ensure the safety of the congregants at the church, they can’t be sued in a civil matter for that,” said Collins.

In order to be protected under the new law, the team must be hired employees or volunteer with paperwork to prove it.

 “If you hire an off-duty police officer, this wouldn’t apply to them. It’s actually people who volunteer or employ directly from the churches,” said Collins.

Senate Bill 694 covers the possession or use of a firearm leading to death, damage or injury.

“Disasters or an active shooter, it gives us an extra level of protection and gives us confidence that we can do those things and not be liable on a personal level, said Tony Garrett, Associate Pastor of Southern Oaks Baptist Church.

The Texas Security Coalition promotes every church to have adequate training, so no one is wrongly accused.

“We want to help the smaller churches and know what kind of training is available, so we can offer it to them,” said Garrett.

The bill and training will benefit any church no matter how big the congregation is.

“We are gonna love them until we can’t love them anymore and have to act,” said Garrett.

This new law will become effective on September 1.

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