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Questions emerge about how to best protect places of worship

This undated Pennsylvania Department of Transportation photo shows Robert Bowers, the suspect in the deadly shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. (Pennsylvania Department of Transportation via AP)

WASHINGTON - There is a new chapter of gun violence in America, this time hitting the Jewish community.

“The sense of a serene America, one where everybody is part of a greater good, E Pluribus unum, 'out of many, one'-- the whole notion of religious freedom was punctured,” said Rabbi Levi Shemtov with the American Friends of Lubavitch in Washington, in an interview Monday.

Outside of the Tree of Life Temple where 11 people lost their lives while worshipping, there is now a makeshift memorial.

According to the criminal complaint, the alleged shooter told law enforcement, “I just want to kill Jews." Now new questions are emerging about how to protect places of worship.

“If there was an armed guard inside the temple, they would've been able to stop him, maybe there would've been nobody killed,” President Trump told reporters Saturday.

For Rabbi Levi Shemtov, it’s a balance of being welcoming and keeping his Congregation safe, an added challenge since his high profile members include Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

"I can speak only for our congregation but we already have an armed guard at services," he said. "As much as we ultimately rely on God for protection, God expects us to do whatever we can to protect ourselves."

There have been more than a dozen shootings at houses of worship since 2012 --including at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas where 26 were killed.

Some say the best approach is to enact new laws to keep guns out of the hands of those who wish to do harm.

“The thought that you can buy the same weapon I carried on ATF S.W.A.T absent a background check is insane. We need to have moderate policies that balance the right to own a gun with the right not to get shot,” said David Chipman, a Senior Policy Advisor with Giffords, a group dedicated to fighting gun violence, founded by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

With the midterms right around the corner, it remains to be seen if Congress will craft any new laws on gun control.

Some, including the president, have also called for stricter death penalty laws.

Others, like Chipman, said mass shooters often expect to die and wouldn’t be stopped by the death penalty, already in place in so many states.

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