Church Security Under the Lens: Unpacking the Paramilitary Activity Act of 2024

by | CFX Community, regulations, Security, Security Connections

In the realm of church safety and security, a new legislative proposal, dubbed H.R. 6981 the “Preventing Private Paramilitary Activity Act of 2024″ has stirred both concern and confusion. This bill has sparked a flurry of headlines, YouTube analyses, and social media discussions, suggesting it might classify church security teams as paramilitary groups, effectively banning their operation under this new mandate. Introduced to Congress in January of this year, the bill has captured both local and national attention, raising pivotal questions about the future of church security measures.

Is there truth to the fears being voiced, or is this merely a case of misinformation amplifying concerns without basis? In a quest for clarity, I delved into the specifics of H.R. 6981, separating fact from fiction to grasp its implications for church security initiatives. Join me as we explore whether this proposed legislation genuinely targets faith-based security efforts or is aimed at curbing the activities of actual paramilitary groups.  

The Basis for the Paramilitary Activity Act of 2024

The Preventing Private Paramilitary Activity Act of 2024, introduced by Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Massachusetts) and Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland) following the anniversary of the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, aims to establish a federal prohibition against paramilitary groups. This legislation targets activities that intimidate state and local officials, interfere with government proceedings, impersonate law enforcement, and violate constitutional rights while armed. It emerges in response to the perceived threats posed by private paramilitary organizations, which have been involved in significant events, including the January 6th Capitol attack. The bill seeks to fill a gap in federal law, addressing the absence of a federal statute against paramilitary activities, despite existing state laws that are often outdated, underenforced, or ignored.

What Groups Is the Bill Designed to Prohibit?

While some express concerns about the broad application of the bill to various groups, including church security teams, the primary focus of the bill is on preventing activities that are coercive, intimidating, or that falsely assume law enforcement functions. Church security teams typically operate within a different context, focusing on the safety and security of congregants, which is distinct from the activities the bill aims to address.

What Does It Mean for Church Security Teams?

While it’s crucial for churches to be aware of the legislation and its implications, the bill’s focus on addressing the specific threats posed by private paramilitary activity suggests that teams operating within the law and not engaging in the prohibited conduct outlined in the bill would not be its target. And while I agree that we should monitor this proposed bill with great intensity as things may change over time, the current proposal does not seem to alter how churches should operate as volunteer teams looking to serve and protect. The spirit of the legislation is to prevent dangerous groups from attacking the constitution and storming the Capitol, activities and behaviors I’m sure are far from the role of your church safety team.

Simon Osamoh serves as the editor of Security Connections and is nationally recognized for his work in safeguarding houses of worship. He began his career in England, spending 14 years as a detective specializing in serious and organized crime before leading Counter Terrorism at the Mall of America in Minnesota. Simon founded Kingswood Security Consulting and the Worship Security Academy, aimed at providing security solutions to houses of worship. He is the author of two Amazon bestselling books and the host of the Worship Security Academy podcast. For submissions or topic ideas, or if you have questions, reach out to Simon at sosamoh@worshipfacility.com

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