Terrorist Threats and Religious Organizations

How can a religious organization protect itself and its congregation from the acts of terrorists?  With the action of terrorists in the middle east and the world wide call for a day of “jihad,” we are receiving lots of calls from firearm owners asking if they can provide security services at their local temples, synagogues, churches and other places of worship.  Some of the calls have been from unarmed security guards who have been asked to bring their firearms to work due to the situation in the world and the threats to the safety of their congregations.  This article is meant to clarify the rights and responsibilities of gun owners and security guards in Florida who want to help protect those they love, those they worship with and those they have been hired to protect.

Those without a CWFL or Security License

Under Florida’s new permitless carry law, anyone who can lawfully possess a firearm who is over 21 years of age and could qualify for a CWFL may carry a firearm concealed on their person even without a CWFL.  Further, there is no law prohibiting the carrying of a firearm on the property of religious institutions including temples, synagogues, churches, mosques or other religious institutions.  However, Florida law does not allow a firearm to be carried on the property of any school except under a few limited exceptions.  Therefore those who do not have a CWFL may not carry a firearm onto the property of any religious institution if there is a school on the property.  If no school is on the property then a firearm may be carried for any lawful purpose including self-defense.  However, one exception to this is the provision of security services.  Continue reading to learn more.


Those who possess a CWFL

Those who possess a CWFL may carry on the property of any religious organization even if there is a school on the property.  On June 30, 2021, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 259 into law. House Bill 259 authorized those with a Concealed Weapon and Firearm License (CWFL) to carry a firearm with them on the property of churches, temples, and other religious institutions, regardless of whether or not there is a school which operates on the same property and in spite of any other state laws which might prohibit the carry of firearms on the property.  CWFL holders lawfully may carry their firearm onto the property of a religious organization for any lawful purpose including self-defense.  However, they may not do so with the intent of providing armed security services.  Continue reading to learn more.

Unarmed Security Guards

A religious organization can directly hire unarmed security guards and be their employer.  Additionally, congregants can organize or be organized into an unarmed voluntary security force.  Unarmed security guards MAY NOT carry firearms, hence the term unarmed.

Armed Security Guards

Florida law requires those who act as armed security guards to be licensed as armed security guards.  Further, an armed security guard cannot work directly for a corporation or religious institution.  Florida law requires armed security guards to be hired through a licensed security agency.  Security Officer — Class “D” license — Any individual who performs security services must have a Class “D” Security Officer License and must own or be employed by a licensed Class “B” Security Agency or branch office. Class “D” licensees may not personally enter into subcontractor agreements with any licensed agency or other business entity. See Sections 493.6301(4) and (5) Fla. Stat.  Only by hiring a licensed armed security guard through a licensed agency can a religious organization hire and provide armed security to their congregation.


To learn more about armed security at religious’ institutions, please see our related articles:

Frequently asked security questions – click here

Want to know more about the “Church Carry Bill” – click here

Curious about voluntary armed religious organization security teams? – click here



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