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Scott Satchfield / Eyewitness News
Email: ssatchfield@wwltv.com | Twitter: @satchfield

NEW ORLEANS -- One local church is taking a stand in the fierce national debate over gun laws.

Sunday, Household of Faith in eastern New Orleans joined more than 150 other congregations across the country in a simultaneous service -- something they're calling the 'Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath.'

For many congregation members, gun violence hits close to home.

'At our church, the number of young people that we're burying here due to gun violence is unprecedented. I have a coworker that I work with, one of my nurses, last year her son was shot and killed. He was shot 10 times as a result of young people who don't need to have a gun in their hands, having access to guns,' said church member Veronica Calliet. 'We have a right to bear arms, but I think there ought to be some controls. We don't need 17-year-olds with assault rifles on the street.'

Some, however, say laws can only do so much.

'The violence that we're experiencing today is due to a lack of upbringing,' said another church member, Louis Richardson. 'At some point, we seem to have lost that control, and we have to bring that control back into the household.'

It's a common opinion across New Orleans, where 193 people were murdered last year. But with the vast majority of them falling victim to gunfire, Richardson and other Household of Faith members say it's time for more action.

'I don't want to take away anybody's rights, but I have a right too, to be able to walk my street safely without the fear of being caught in the crossfire of a gun,' Calliet said.

'There's a place and time for guns -- on the battlefield -- but here in New Orleans, in our neighborhoods and all, it's not a battlefield. It's a place of our community, where our families live, where our children live,' said member Lillie Thompson.

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