Louisiana's governor Bobby Jindal signed House Bill 1272 into law allowing "guns to be carried into houses of worship...as part of a security force."
The Times-Picayune reports that "Gov. Bobby Jindal has signed into law one of the more controversial bills from the recent legislative session, one allowing guns to be carried into houses of worship."
House Bill 1272, the "gun-in-church" bill, was sponsored by Rep. Henry Burns (R-Haughton) and arrived on Jindal's desk June 20. Jindal signed the bill into law this week. A Senate committee had killed Burn's original bill, but Burns later tacked the legislation onto a bill concerning concealed weapon permits.
The "gun-in-church" law allows authorized "persons who qualified to carry concealed weapons having passed the training and background checks to bring them to churches, mosques, synagogues or other houses of worship as part of a security force."
Heads of the religious institutions, who adopt the "gun-in church" option, are required to announce via weekly bulletin, newsletter, or verbally that armed individuals will be on the property as part of the security force. Chosen members of the security force must receive eight hours of tactical training per year.
New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond was quoted by NewOrleans.com as saying:
Well, thank God we are requiring they go through eight hours of tactical training. Personally, I don't see a need for the law. It's just very surprising to me that this was passed because even if you talk about the more challenging neighborhoods, they don't have problems inside the church. They've had problems in the neighborhood, outside the church, near the church in a park but not in the church. Theologically we have always seen our churches, synagogues and mosques as a place of refuge and sanctuary. Not a place where firearms would be used.
Houses of worship are also allowed to retain the services of security guards or off-duty police "to protect congregants." Burns contends that houses of worship in "declining neighborhoods" or high crime areas need the security force in order to "ward off thieves and muggers," according to the Times-Picayune.
According to the Boston Herald, churches on school property are exempt from the law.