Deadly shootings spur places of worship to allow guns

Caddo has trained 350-55 congregations in 2 years; and there are many more to go

Hundreds of ArkLaTex congregations have undergone security training

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — Deadly violence like that just seen at a Texas church has had a big impact in the ArkLaTex.

A gunman fatally shot two people then two armed church members returned fire, killing him, during a church service Sunday in a Fort Worth suburb.

It’s the latest deadly shooting at a church in this country within the past few years.

And that’s led to security changes at churches in the Shreveport-Bossier City area.

In Shreveport — about 230 miles due east of Fort Worth, Bishop Lawrence Brandon heard about the shooting Sunday almost immediately.

“I just thought about the blatant disregard, you know, for the house of prayer and the lives of people," said the senior pastor of Praise Temple Full Gospel Baptist Church off Greenwood Road.

"And some people take sadistic pleasure in harming others.”

Praise Temple already has formed an armed security team to help ensure a mass tragedy does not unfold at the church.

A new law took effect in 2018 in Louisiana that allows members with concealed carry permits to bring firearms to church services.

The one caveat is that places of worship must inform their congregations of their decisions to allow concealed carry in their sanctuaries.

Brandon said that news was well received at his church.

"The reaction was positive because the people felt secure."

Training is everything to make the security team effective, Brandon added.

That’s why his team gets training regularly from the Caddo Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff’s Deputy Tony LeBlanc, part of Caddo’s Homeland Security team, said their training program is very popular.

"We're looking at a little over 350, 355, somewhere in there, churches in the last two years in Caddo Parish alone."

And with hundreds of religious organizations in the parish, LeBlanc said, they expect to stay busy with training for the foreseeable future.

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