FRANKLINTON, LOUISIANA — In what is either a sign of the best of times or the worst of them, a group of pastors and priests from across Louisiana have gathered together to complete the range requirements to get their concealed carry permits. WWL-4 covered the story.
“Churches left their doors open all the time so people could go in and pray if they needed to,” said Fr. Mark Templet with St. Peter the Aleut in Abita Springs. “Now, you don’t know what kind of people might be coming through the door and what they might do.”
The group – all comprised of religious leaders and their wives – completed a weekend long seminar in how to properly conceal and use a concealed carry firearm for the defense of themselves and potentially their attendees.
It belays a harsh reality unto which religious leaders are faced with in light of the Charleston massacre. And many understand that their actions may not be entirely understood or sympathized with by the community they intend to serve.
“I’ll probably have some that won’t like it, but again when it comes to a situation, I feel like they would be more than happy that it would be there if we need it,” said Pastor Raymond Garcia from Brockdale Apostolic Church in Tylertown, Miss.
“We need a plan,” said Garcia. “We never know what we’re going to be faced with. And I want to be a part of it just like I feel like we need to be ready for the coming of the Lord.”
The free course, called “Pistol-packing Preachers” class, is aimed at fulfilling Louisiana state requirements for knowledge of gun laws, escalation of force, and proper use and handling of a firearm. The organization that hosted the course offers it freely to clergy and their spouses once a quarter.