Special weapons training offered to pastors, security teams

Following up on the issue of security in our churches in this age of growing uncertainty, a reader sent the following from KNOE 8 NEWS:

OPSO offers gun training to churches

WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) – The Ouachita [I wonder how that is pronounced.] Parish Sheriff’s Office training division offered local pastors and church security teams a class on how to properly shoot a gun.

53 people were present to learn and train for dangerous situations, but each pastor or security team had to have their congregations permission.

“We get request throughout the year from different churches, to come and do security assessment or give their usher team or safety team training. In active shooter response and what they need to do” Captain Ricky Bacle said.

Today each person was certified for concealed carry, but the certification only lasts a year.
They will have to return next year for a refresher.

One year? How curious. Still, repeated training is good idea. No, it’s a great idea. Nay rather, it’s the only idea.

Interesting idea.


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  1. Animadversor says:

    [I wonder how that is pronounced.]

    WAH-shih-tah or WAH-shih-taw, at least in Arkansas (AR-kan-sah or AR-kan-saw); I suppose similarly in Louisiana (LOO-zee-ann-nuh or—h·e·double-toothpicks, I’m not going there).

  2. Manducat in the hat says:

    Animadversor [I wonder how THAT is pronounced] is correct.

    I recall a few years ago that the hunter’s safety course was held at one Cathedral in Louisiana, which included in participants shooting the shotgun out behind the church.

    Strong gun culture in Louisiana. It would be nice to see some bishops get in on the action.

  3. Hidden One says:

    I wonder how they’d go about getting the congregation’s permission for, say, Monsignor ABC or Bishop PQR to attend.

  4. Semper Gumby says:

    At the risk of stating the obvious, training courses should include instruction on:

    1. Tactical reloading.
    2. Tactical clearing of jams and misfires. Also known as dummy-round drills.
    3. Pistol and magazine care and cleaning.
    4. Safe method to regularly practice drawing of concealed pistol and dry firing. Also known as muscle-memory drills.

    Available online as pdf files are:
    MCRP 3-01B Marine Corps Pistol Marksmanship
    FM 3-23.35 Army Pistol Marksmanship

  5. Bea says:

    In comparison:
    I read that the Dallas diocese bishop has forbidden arms in even the parking lots of churches.
    What’s he waiting for? The congregations in his diocese to be attacked?

  6. Bea says:

    Watch gun-toting priests get up in arms (pun intended).

  7. frhumphries says:

    Animadversor is dead on – Ouachita is pronounced WAH-shih-taw by locals.

    Also, the former governor of Louisiana (Jindal) encouraged Church leaders to have security training and to Concel\Carry in the Church. The current governor (Edwards) is a gun control dem, so who knows what the future holds… At my parish, we’re actively trying to figure out the proper logistics to establish a “security apostolate” or something of that sort.

  8. Tony McGough says:

    How sad that your fine country is stricken by a plague of firearms, with so many deaths caused by criminals, addicts, deranged or merely unlucky people who have instant access to lethal weapons which can cause multiple deaths.

    I understand that it is very difficult to work your way back from this state of affairs – it may take decades to make the change – but it is possible; here in the UK even the terrorists find it difficult to have guns, and almost all the police are unarmed.

    Would it not be better to rescind the “right” to bear arms (which I understand is a doubtful reading of your constitution) to work towards a gentler enforcing of law and order? You will understand the way our jaws drop when we learn that one should carry a pistol to be safe at Mass. What horrors! Nehemiah himelf would be shocked to do that in a country not under siege.

  9. floppy2 says:

    I have spoken to a Catholic friend of mine about this very issue! This friend is concealed carry certified. I think it is now necessary for ushers to carry concealed. As I am former military I know how to look for threats and look for them as a habit when at mass. As I live in a state that has agreed to the Obama administrations refugee acceptance, I now keep personal vigilance at all times when at mass. I do not have a carry license but…that will have to change.
    I am not paranoid or unduly suspicious. Just very watchful. If I see something strange, it is reported to our ushers. I think parishes need to take this approach seriously.


  10. dixitDOMINUSDOMINOmeo says:

    I used to teach at a Catholic school, and around the time of the Newtown shootings my 7th graders asked me if I thought teachers should have guns. As I wrote on the board I very nonchalantly said yes. They gasped. I then turned around and said “Because if anyone gets between me and my 7th graders, they’re going down!” I received an applause.

  11. SKAY says:

    I agree with your assessment of the governor we just elected frhumphries. He campaigned
    as a conservative but his voting record in Baton Rouge says otherwise. It is obvious
    that many normally conservative pro life voters did not bother to look at his record and listened to
    Democrat campaign rhetoric. We are just beginning to see the results of that.
    I pronounce Louisiana – Louise-e-ana.
    I do agree with Animadversor about how to pronounce Ouachita.

  12. tz2026 says:

    Perhaps WCC should add another short summer courts – I think most of the students could teach it, given your earlier post.

  13. kentghare says:

    It is indeed “WASHitaw.” It’s not too far from Natchitoches (“NAKotish”) where you offered a wonderful parish mission during Lent 2014.

    Kent Hare
    Ouachita Parish High School, 1979

  14. Go West Monroe! I lived there for many years. Daughter graduated from WM High School. Animadversor has it right.

  15. rmichaelj says:

    For anyone that thinks this sort of thing doesn’t matter- I had a family member carjacked recently in a Catholic Church parking lot after evening mass. It was in what people consider a “safe” part of the city she was in. Luckily no serious injuries, and the attackers were not armed. Be vigilant, regardless of whether you carry or not.

  16. FXR2 says:

    Frhumphries is correct to establish a “security apostolate”. Most priests that I have me would not be likely to use a firearm. If they were, I would feel better if the carried concealed outside of Mass. The Alb and other vestments could seriously impair their ability to deploy the weapon effectively.

    I suppose one of the servers could bring Father the “liturgical Beretta”. When you present the Beretta to Father kiss the Beretta, then the hand. When Father returns the Beretta to you you kiss the hand then the Beretta. I am not familiar with the rubric for liturgical magazine changes or immediate action drills.


  17. pgepps says:

    I remember the pronunciation as “Wash it off” without the final “ff.” There are additional points scored, I am told, for proper use of various local vowel elongations in various iterations of the name. :-)

  18. BenjaminiPeregrinus says:

    Tony McGough – “Would it not be better to rescind the “right” to bear arms?”
    “which I understand is a doubtful reading of your constitution”
    It is part of the bill of rights, all of which apply to the individual, to repeal it would fundamentally un-American.
    “in the UK even the terrorists find it difficult to have guns”
    I would question that… I would point to multiple events in France over the last year, a country which has fairly strict gun control as I understand.
    “one should carry a pistol to be safe at Mass.”
    No, generally you are safe, and it is very unlikely anything bad will happen. It is the exception (which is on the rise, with the increase in Islamism, which takes the Koran seriously when it says ‘kill the infidel’) I reserve the right, in one of these rare occurrences, to shoot back.

  19. ghp95134 says:

    Tony McGough writes, …Would it not be better to rescind the “right” to bear arms (which I understand is a doubtful reading of your constitution) to work towards a gentler enforcing of law and order?

    Are you old enough to remember this?


    Distributing to Home Guard:

  20. Tony Phillips says:

    Maybe we need some ‘turn the other cheek’ training…

  21. Kathleen10 says:

    Tony McGough, to many Americans, the European attitude toward guns is hard to fathom too. Paris is proof you cannot keep guns away from evildoers, not here, not there where you are, so where is the safety in having no guns available. They will get them. Not having access to them makes it much more likely for good people to be victims of evil people. Many Americans just find that unacceptable. I can’t even understand at all police not having them. Not now. I’m thinking of those poor British soldier, or soldiers, who were hacked to death a few years ago. Plenty of Americans would have preferred to save the soldier by shooting the barbarians who did that. I don’t understand at all how Europeans prefer to walk around defenseless.
    Americans will go to the mat for our Constitutional rights. They are our protections against tyranny from our own government as well as self-defense. We know crime and a tyrannical government are always distinct possibilities.

  22. hwriggles4 says:

    One of my brother Knights is a retired Highway Patrol officer (he’s still young, he did the 20 year retirement, which is common among the military as well) and he carries a concealed handgun into our parish – I believe he has a concealed handgun license (CHL) which can be received in Texas. I also know some good Catholic men who are police officers, and of course, some that are former military.

    It’s to give some protection if it’s needed – I was disappointed to hear the statement issued by one Texas bishop concerning gun control – and it even made EWTN’s The World Over Live – that’s where I found out about it.

  23. Kerry says:

    “Sigh…”, turning the other cheek. The very wise deacon at St. Agnes in St. Paul once ‘splained’ this.
    If a Roman struck and equal, he used the palm of his hand. To strike an inferior, the back of his hand. (Imagine back of right hand striking left cheek.) To ‘turn the other cheek’ was to turn the tables. Would a Roman dare strike an inferior with his palm? Jesu Christi and Ju Jitsu.

    Tony, “our jaws drop”. How many jaws do you have? I believe you are, per T.S. Eliot, “dreaming of systems so perfect, that no one will have to be good”. I carry a firearm to protect Christ’s little ones. And a “plague of firearms”? Bubonic or pnemonic? “A rifle has no moral stature as it has no will of it’s own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the ways of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles.”

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  24. Semper Gumby says:

    Kerry, hwriggles4, Kathleen10, Benjamini, dixit, and others along the same line: good points

    frhumphries: security apostolate sounds interesting

  25. MouseTemplar says:

    @Tony Phillips: Being struck on the cheek is a non-lethal attack and something I would overlook for the sake of peace. But come at my little boy with the intent to “smite them at their necks”, and the Glock comes out.

    @Tony McGough: really? I am singularly unimpressed with how indiscriminate immigration and lack of personal protection is working out for the EU. The Paris shootings, the Cologne rapes, the no-go zones in Oslo while Merkel tells you to accept that migrants bring more crime. There are innocents to be protected! You will disappear in a generation, Europe will be a Muslim wasteland, and Notre Dame–if it is left standing–will be a mosque.

  26. Catholic_Convert2 says:

    Having been the, eh, ‘beneficiary’ of King George’s benevolence, my good man, I’m not too eager to – how is it said – trade a little Liberty for a little security.

  27. Catholic_Convert2 says:

    I would also ask you to check your premise. You begin with “your fine country”, but then question the benefits of a founding principal of that country.

    1+1 will always equal 2, my friend. Perhaps your premise (firearms ownership = plague) is incorrect.

  28. Kerry says:

    “Rifle” quote from Jeff Cooper, The Art of the Rifle.

  29. Tony McGough says:

    Sorry chaps, I did not mean to deny your freedom to make the choices you have, or somehow disparage your good intentions; but many over here do wonder how a system which allows any nutter to lay waste a school so readily is tolerated by a majority.

    Just to lay to rest a few red herrings: as ghp95134 indicates, the Home Guard was armed during the war, when invasion was a real possibility. It was, of course, a local militia, under military control and discipline, and not merely a gang of blokes running round with guns. And it was disbanded and disarmed when the threat vanished.

    Mainland Europe is awash with guns, thanks largely to the Bosnian war. Hence the ease with which those terrorists wasted a theatre-full of Parisian rock fans with machine guns. Our British borders are not as permeable, and firearms very rare (and illegal). So those who wish to slaughter have less scope. That suits us. YMMV.

    Your constitution was written by Americans, and can be re-written by them, without them feeling un-american. Maybe one day that will happen. Meantime, we don’t even have a written Constitution, merely the rule of law.

    Each to his own. We wonder at your system, and, it seems, you at ours. Two nations divided by a common language, as Churchill remarked – and by very different attitudes.

  30. Tony Phillips says:

    Kerry, was your wise deacon by any chance a Jesuit? Such clever sophistry is beyond the reach of more garden-variety clerics. It takes a sharp mind indeed, to twist the very plain meaning of a text into something it never intended to say.

    Interestingly, the Walter Wink ‘interpretation’ (which your deacon evidently ‘splained to you) is one of those quasi-Marxist constructions which has Jesus going around subverting authority. I’d argue that Jesus stayed out of politics. His kingdom, we’re told, is not of this world.

    How would your casuistic deacon explain away the next verses, which say ‘And if a man will contend with thee in judgment, and take away thy coat, let go thy cloak also unto him. And whosoever will force thee one mile, go with him other two.’ Perhaps that second mile is the one that leads to a secluded place where we can safely punch his lights out?

    It’s true that the examples in Matthew 5 are ‘non-lethal’, as MouseTemplar points out. But when Peter drew his sword in the Garden, he was reprimanded. And of course Peter, like so many of those first disciples, went meekly to their deaths.

    What about those early Christian martyrs in the Coliseum? Should they have pulled their concealed Smith and Wessons from under their togas and blown those lions to bits?

  31. Sonshine135 says:

    Tony McGough,

    As the Father of three children, it is not only a duty but an obligation for me to take care of my family. The vocation of a Father and Husband is not only to make sure that he provides strong spiritual guidance, but to love and protect the treasure that God has entrusted to me. If someone breaks into my home in the middle of the night with the intention of robbing my house, killing me and my son, and raping and murdering my wife and girls…be it armed with guns, knives, baseball bats, tire irons, or rope, and I do nothing to stop it, then I am no better than Adam shirking his responsibility to Eve in the Garden. This is my vocation and responsibility in life.

    And let’s discuss jolly old England for a moment. With all of you unarmed over there, it is going to make the implementation of Sharia and takeover by the Muslim hoards so much easier. I’m not trying to be contentious, but to a gun-toting American, the English people have abdicated their responsibility for their country and for their families in hopes of benevolent government. You learned nothing from World War II.

    Let’s not forget that it was the English, locking up the powder stores in Williamsburg, that lit the candle on America’s “gun culture” and was a large influence on the creation of the second amendment.

    In God we Trust, but all others need to be verified.

  32. Imrahil says:

    Dear Tony Phillips,

    to twist the very plain meaning of a text into something it never intended to say.

    Something that runs totally contrary to that which we have been brought up to interpret it, you mean – influenced, need I say it, by the Protestant tendency to paint the picture of the law of Christ as unfulfillable (which suits them fine, because they don’t think they have to fulfil it), and our respectable aim to outbid them in morality.

    The text as it stands does have “if someone hitteth thee on the right cheek, turn him the left one” (not simply “the other”). As normal slaps-in-the-face are given with the right hand on the left cheek, the default assumption at least would be that this is not without significance.

    I always thought (as soon as I learned about the “right cheek, left cheek” thing absent in most translations) that a somewhat impish “hey, seriously fella, don’cha even know how to give slaps properly? y’know, one takes the right hand and applies it to the left cheek, here, give it a try” is rather in accord with what our Lord commands.

    The further examples don’t, I think, contradict this but corroborates it: so, if the Roman soldier commands you to accompany him for the mile he was allowed to command you by Roman directives, then refusing this as an occupier’s tyranny might be imprudent, and doing so with silent complaint might look like giving in. But if you do it and then say, “‘know what? I’ll go for another mile with you”… seems like an elegant way out of the dilemma.

  33. ghp95134 says:

    Tony writes:

    Just to lay to rest a few red herrings: as ghp95134 indicates, the Home Guard was armed during the war, when invasion was a real possibility. It was, of course, a local militia, under military control and discipline, and not merely a gang of blokes running round with guns. And it was disbanded and disarmed when the threat vanished.

    Nae red harrins heor, me canny lad. The reason the Home Guard was armed during the war was because they received weapons from America because American citizens had them to spare and the British civilian had not. And, we still do. The point being … we are not une nation de boutiquiers’.

    And once the Home Guard were demobbed, the weapons (many, if not all) were returned to the American lenders.

    Guy Power

  34. Tony Phillips says:

    Imrahil, if you think that the Sermon on the Mount was a political discourse on resistance to Roman occupation with no subsequent relevance, then your analysis, and that of Kerry’s wily deacon, works perfectly. But it’s actually one of a collection of hard sayings that people have been trying to wiggle out of for a very long time .

    I can’t speak for Protestants or to whether they think Christ’s teaching is unfulfillable. But Jesus said, ‘Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect’, and in addition to turning the other cheek said we should give everything away to the poor (and no, I don’t think that was an elegant way to cheat the oppressive Roman tax system). I guess these things are quite do-able, but most of don’t do them. We have too many excuses (‘ Lord, suffer me first to go, and to bury my father.’)

  35. Cheddar299 says:

    At the Christmas eve Masses at our parish there was a Sheriff’s Deputy on the grounds, as there was apparently a threat received. Afterward my wife said since I’m in the choir loft I should get my CCW because I would have excellent line of sight should anything occur.

  36. Manducat in the hat says:

    @Tony McGough

    If the US weren’t “plagued” with guns, then there would be no one to once again save the UK from yet another world war, invasion, or destruction. Can you say dhimmitude?

    Btw, how are those knife attacks going in the UK?

  37. Manducat in the hat says:

    The CCC 2264 is very clear on the right and duty to legitimate self defense including the necessity of dealing a lethal blow.

  38. Manducat in the hat says:

    Under Texas law, a bishop has no legal authority to prohibit firearms in the parking lot. The prohibition can only occur with proper signage “on the premises” which means “inside the actual building.” Your car is an extension of your home, thus you are free to keep a firearm in your car under these circumstances.

    His prohibition is nothing more than wishful thinking.

  39. Tony Phillips says:

    One might think that Manducat is telling us that the CCC trumps Jesus. But to be fair, the CCC dances carefully around this question, stating that using lethal force isn’t necessarily ‘murder’, and that self-defence can be justified–without claiming that this is the best course. Similarly, this section of the catechism focuses on what legal authorities are empowered to do–such as using arms to repel aggression, or employing the death penalty.

    Once again: were St Stephen, the apostles and the early Christian martyrs wrong?

  40. Manducat in the hat says:


    To address your points, I see it as a both/and, not an either/or situation. Only the individual can discern for himself what God desires of him, hence St. Stephen and St. Joan of Arc. I would think in the situation of St. Stephen that seeing as how Christianity was very unpopular and he was surrounded by a mob that even with a firearm, St. Stephen may have had no chance at survival. The situation is surely different when some nutjob wants to shoot up a movie theater. For one, the moviegoers aren’t martyrs. For two, I have a wife and children for whom to be an example, guide, provider, and protector. The CCC 2265 says that trumps martyrdom for me.

    “Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others…”

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