Tennessee Attorney General concludes that church members may serve as volunteer armed security for their church.
License for Church Congregations Using Volunteer Members for Security Purposes
May a local congregation of a church use members of that congregation to act as a security team for the church without complying with the licensure and notification requirements of the Private Protective Services Licensing and Regulatory Act if the members of the security team are unarmed, unpaid volunteers?
Yes. If the security team consists of unpaid volunteer church members, neither the church nor its local congregation would be “engaging in the business of providing . . . a security guard and patrol service on a contractual basis for another person,” Tenn. Code Ann. § 62-35-102(6), nor would they be “employ[ing] a security guard/officer solely for the [church] in an employer/employee relationship,” Tenn. Code Ann. § 62-35-102(10). Thus, neither the church nor its local congregation would be a “contract security company” or a “proprietary security organization” as defined in Tenn. Code Ann. § 62-35-102(6) and (10) and, therefore, they would not be subject to the Act’s licensing or notification requirements.
Read the entire opinion Attorney General Opinion 15-64.