Organizing, Training & Running a House of Worship Armed Congregant Security Team Part 2

nra 22 kapelsohnAn Interview with Emanuel Kapelsohn

by Gila Hayes

Last month we talked with attorney, expert witness and Network Advisory Board member Emanuel Kapelsohn about the many concerns arising when churches select and equip volunteer security teams. We’re addressing this topic in depth due to the many questions from Network members and prospective members alike who ask if Armed Citizens’ Network would pay for their legal defense if, while serving as security volunteers at church, they use force in defense of the congregation. Our answer? Although the opportunity has not yet arisen, we’d count it a privilege to assist members with legal expenses after they defend themselves and worshipers at their church. As with any use of force, there are serious ramifications to consider before undertaking armed defense. What responsibilities fall to volunteers serving a safety mission?

Kapelsohn contributed a tremendous amount of time and shared experience from both his personal volunteerism and his work as an attorney. In last month’s introduction to this subject, we ran out of time before exploring why documented training is critical, whether safety volunteers join the rest of the congregation in the pews during services or stand guard at assigned posts, and perhaps most important, creation of a use of force policy. If you missed the first installment of this interview, browse to for the first part of this discussion then return to our conversation with Kapelsohn and learn more in this edition of our online journal or stream video of our interview at if you prefer video format.

eJournal: You’ve explained many of the basics of setting up an armed church security team, including preliminary selection of team members. Once approved, what lies ahead of a new volunteer on your church’s Safe Team?

Kapelsohn: We’ve got this person who’s been approved for team membership. They’ve got their childcare clearances and concealed carry permit or if it’s a state that doesn’t require a permit, we figure out how to put them through a criminal background check. We require that our team members start with a 17-hour long program that includes classroom training on state law, firearm safety, mental preparation, alertness, and mental conditioning for this task. It includes range training on everything from drawing and firing single and multiple shots to engaging multiple targets, reloading, clearing stoppages, firing in situations where you have to miss innocents and other things. It includes firing a qualification similar to what a police department might fire. 

Read more ...

President’s Message

Marty Hayes

by Marty Hayes, J.D.

I recently made a video to set the record straight about the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network. You can hardly go online without finding comparisons between the Network and all the companies out there providing self-defense insurance. For the most part, they get the facts about the Network wrong, giving incorrect or out of date details. I want to let you know, straight from the president, what the Network consists of and how we operate. For this column, I’ll distill what I said on video for those preferring a written format, or you can click here to view the full-length video.

A Little History

We started the Network in 2008, after I’d taught firearms full time for about 15 years while being a part-time law enforcement officer and working on expert witness cases.

Read more ...

Attorney Question of the Month

ico gavel 200

The backlash following the United States Supreme Court Bruen decision resulted in a flurry of laws adding “sensitive areas” to many existing restrictions. Depending on the state, now even more laws make it a crime for law abiding armed citizens to carry their handguns when they go to church, go to the doctor, enter a library, stadium, park or public square, attend a rally, use mass transit and more.

This drives individual armed citizens to decide whether to comply and go unarmed or decide to accept the punishment if they are found in possession of a handgun where it is illegal. That decision must weigh whether violation is a felony or a misdemeanor, if conviction of illegal carry can result in loss of gun rights and for how long, as well as the severity of fines and jail sentences.

Read more ...

News From Our Afilliates

ico gavel 200

by Gila Hayes

In June, I enjoyed a video chat with John Harris of Tennessee, one of our earliest affiliated attorneys and a generous contributor to our monthly attorney question column. He’s up to his neck in the fight for gun rights in TN, an effort I think you’ll enjoy hearing about in Harris’ own words via video linked below or this briefer, written john harris2

eJournal: Let’s introduce you to members who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting you. Aren’t you the latest of three generations of TN attorneys? What’s the focus of Harris Law Office?

Harris: That’s correct. My grandfather was licensed in 1940. I’m the third generation and my youngest brother is an attorney and a judicial magistrate.

Read more ...

Book Review

The Well-Regulated: Honing the Edge in Oneself and Others

Well RegulatedBy Reid Henrichs
Independently published (Feb. 2023)
279 pages, paperback, $22.99; eBook $19.99
ISBN-13: 979-8377419822

Reviewed by Gila Hayes

Last month, I read The Well Regulated by Network affiliated instructor Reid Henrichs. The way it blends American history with commentary and advice for students of shooting reminded me of Jeff Cooper’s Gargantuan Gunsite Gossip. The over 50 short chapters, returned often to the importance of fundamentals. Today’s lexicon has forgotten that “regulated” once indicated readiness, competence and skill.

Read more ...

Editor’s Notebook

gila 300

by Gila Hayes

Anyone still clinging to the belief that the legal system views physical force as somehow less serious than firearms is getting a remedial lesson via the prosecution of Daniel Penny in New York.

The situation reminds Network members of the seriousness of so-called unarmed attack so ably articulated by Dr. Robert Margulies in articles at featured in this journal a few months ago. Explaining one of the ways an empty-handed opponent can kill you, Margulies observed, “Normally, the brain runs out of oxygen in roughly 20 seconds, but if choking occurs during an altercation, you have 4 to 6 seconds because during an altercation, there is already increased blood flow and increased consumption of oxygen. The brain is working harder; it consumes oxygen during physical activity as well as mental activity. Choking shuts off blood flow up and blood flow down. Oxygen is consumed. The brain does not have storage of oxygen like in the muscle cells, so without oxygen, brain cells start dying.”

Read more ...

About this Journal


The eJournal of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc. is published monthly on the Network’s website at Content is copyrighted by the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc.

Do not mistake information presented in this online publication for legal advice; it is not. The Network strives to assure that information published in this journal is both accurate and useful. Reader, it is your responsibility to consult your own attorney to receive professional assurance that this information and your interpretation or understanding of it is accurate, complete and appropriate with respect to your particular situation.

Read more ...