Organizing, Training & Running a House of Worship Armed Congregant Security Team Part 1

nra 22 kapelsohnAn Interview with Emanuel Kapelsohn

by Gila Hayes

Frequently a Network member or an armed citizen who is interested in becoming a Network member asks if we would assist a member who uses force in defense of their church, temple, or synagogue – their house of worship. So long as the member serves in an entirely volunteer capacity, our assistance encompasses volunteering on the church safety team, as well as after self defense in their private lives. Of course, our member education efforts are equally applicable to a member defending himself, herself, a loved one or their fellow worshipers. Network Advisory Board member and attorney Emanuel Kapelsohn, who is very active in organizing and training church defense teams, has agreed to help us better understand the responsibilities and concerns arising when armed congregants organize to look out for the safety of their fellow worshipers.

eJournal: Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us, Manny. Please tell us a little about your background.

Kapelsohn: Thank you, Gila. I’m in my early 70s. Many, many years ago, I got an undergraduate degree with honors from Yale University and a law degree from Harvard Law School. I’ve practiced law on and off since 1978. I’ve been a police firearms instructor and a defensive firearms instructor for 45 years now. Along the way, I became an expert witness in court cases that involved firearms, use of force, crimes committed with weapons, self-defense cases, and products liability cases involving guns and holsters and related products. I’ve been an expert witness for 39 years now in state and federal courts all across the country. I’m also a reserve deputy sheriff, an armed sworn position I’ve done for 27 years in two sheriff’s departments in the two states that I’ve lived in.

In more recent years, I’ve spent a lot of time helping to develop, organize, train, and supervise armed congregant security teams for houses of worship. I’ve done that for several churches, one large synagogue, a faith-based community center, a private school, and some others. For about the last 5-6 years, I’ve been involved in not only actually training but working on the armed security team for a large church near us almost every Sunday morning and some holidays, as well.

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President’s Message

Marty Hayes

by Marty Hayes, J.D.

Recently, a prospective member asked how we go about making the decision to fund the legal defense of an act of self defense. I told him I would discuss this in the next eJournal, not remembering that I wrote about this two years ago. So, if that person is expecting to find that article in this issue, just go to and read about our decision-making process.

The information in the 2021 article is still accurate. The only additional thing I want to mention is that today our Legal Defense Fund has grown to $4,000,000.00 (four million dollars). I also want to reassure people that we exist to spend this Fund for our members. The last thing I want to do is turn down a request, and the reasons why we might have to do that are spelled out in another article at I suppose I should do a YouTube video on decisions to fund a member’s legal defense, as that seems to be how people get their information these days.

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Attorney Question of the Month

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Vacation travel season is here and Armed Citizens’ Network members are hitting the highways. In states that don’t recognize their carry license, armed citizens are expected to lock up the gun, unloaded and separated from the ammunition, and not readily accessible, as has been the general rule for decades. We ask our Affiliated Attorneys’ help reminding members of gun law pitfalls that could ruin their summer vacation

For this month’s Attorney Question of the Month column, we asked our Affiliated Attorneys this series of questions --

What is the most common mistake visitors from out of state make that leads to violation of one of your state’s gun laws?

Does the “Safe Passage” provision in the 1986 Firearms Owners Protection Act preempt more restrictive state laws like magazine capacity limits if the gun owner is merely driving through the state with the gun locked and inaccessible?

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News From Our Afilliates

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Network Sponsors Get You Ready for a Safer Summer

by Gila Hayes

Have you ever said, “Temperatures are really high today! I’m gonna faint if I have to wear the extra shirt to conceal my gun”?

You predict that evil won’t find you and off you go to the lake, the downtown sidewalk sale, or other summertime fun. Maybe your gift of prophecy will be accurate; maybe it will fail miserably and on the way back to the downtown parking garage a criminal decides he is willing to kill you to get your wallet, your wedding ring, or if you’ve made it to your vehicle, perhaps he finds your car of greater value to him than your life. If your skills at predicting the future aren’t 100%, wouldn’t it be nice to have some hot weather carry options? Without argument, we prefer belt holsters, but let’s not be so dictatorial that we leave folks without ways to go discreetly armed where, while legal, being seen carrying a gun would be likely result in great discomfort for others attending the event.

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Book Review

Strategies and Standards for Defensive Handgun Training

By Karl Rehn and John Daub
2023 Edition Published by KR Training
ISBN-13: 978-1798865798
$9.97 for Kindle; $20.00 paperback at

Reviewed by Gila Hayes

In January of this year Karl Rehn gave us an interview about skill development and practice for armed citizens, and during that conversation, we talked about the soon-to-be-released second edition of his book Strategies and Standards for Defensive Handgun Training, which he co-authored with John Daub. Writing and updating books is tedious work, and in the months that have followed, several members asked when the second edition would be available. Good news! When I saw Karl at the NRA Annual Meeting several months ago, in his hand was a copy of the second edition, printed this time in a larger format.

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Guest Commentary

Frank Sharpe

by Frank Sharpe

“We don’t get to opt out of someone else’s reality because it doesn’t make sense to us.”

– Dr. William Aprill

When I began Instructing 20 years ago there were existing videos of gun and knife attacks, as well as beatings and brawls, but the material worth studying was limited.

With the advent of affordable surveillance systems, phones with video capabilities and body cams, video of almost every engagement worth considering is available.

Access to such resources has allowed me to study thousands of fights, and one thing I’ve noticed over the last 10 years is a massive shift in the levels of violence being inflicted on victims. Instances that would have once been a trade of a few blows between combatants have progressed into maiming and murders, often through mob action.

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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.

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