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Class gives defending church new meaning

By Randy Hammons
The Daily News

There is expected to be a bunch of pistol-packing preachers in Bogalusa Saturday morning at the Bogalusa Grill and Event Center when firearms instructor Scott Ard conducts a concealed carry course designed for clergymen.
The course begins at 8:30 a.m. Ard is owner and instructor at Southern Pistol Academy.
“In response to the slaughter in South Carolina we decided to offer a pistol course for preachers,” Ard said, referring to the nine worshippers killed in Charlestown during a recent Wednesday night Bible study. “Our point of view is that if one person had been prepared and armed, that slaughter could have been avoided.”
Ard said 30 clergymen have registered for the course as of Tuesday afternoon.
“I know we’ve got a lot of pastors in the area who do a great job in this community,” Ard said. “We just want to give something back. We’ve had a great response.”
Ard said there is no fee for the ministers. He said the general public is also invited.
Ard teaches a Louisiana Basic Concealed Carry class.
“It’s your basic pistol curriculum. We will tie in some specific information emergency evacuations of a public assembly and the proper way of addressing a scenario like that,” Ard said. “That information is something to teach people in church, school or shopping mall about basic escape and evasion techniques.”
Ard said he has worked with U.S. Navy Seals at the Stennis Center.
“If those guys were happy with the course, I think we can satisfy the general public,” Ard said.
Fr. Mark Templet, rector of St. Peter the Aleut Orthodox Church in Abita Springs, said he will attend the class.
“I’ve been considering getting a Concealed Carry permit for quite a while,” Templet said. “Then after the shooting happened in South Carolina, my wife saw where Mr. Ard was going to put on a class for ministers. I thought it was a perfect opportunity to take the class.”
Templet, 38, has spent time with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps reserves. He said he is qualified with a pistol and rifle and regularly goes to the Honey Island Swamp Range.
”I’m not too bad of shot,” Templet said. “I’d like to know more about everything entailed in situation awareness. I’m looking forward to all the tips.”