In the aftermath of the Chattanooga shootings last week, several state governors took immediate, positive steps to ensure the security and safety of armed forces recruiters and other military personnel in their respective states — they ordered that national guard forces immediately be armed in Texas, Oklahoma, Indiana, Louisiana, Florida, Arkansas, and perhaps other states by now.
Reportedly, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, a man from Kuwait who became a naturalized American citizen, attacked the Marines and sailor at two military facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee July 16. He killed a sailor and four Marines, and wounded two more people, before being killed by police. The fallen were Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, Polk, Wis.; Lance Cpl. Squire “Skip” K. Wells, Cobb, Ga.; Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan, Springfield, Mass.; Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt, Burke, N.C.; and Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith, Paulding, Ohio. Also in the attack, Chattanooga Police Sgt. Dennis Pedigo suffered a wound to his ankle and underwent surgery.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin’s executive order of July 17 authorized the state’s adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Robbie L. Asher, to arm full-time personnel at installations like the military facilities that were attacked Thursday in Chattanooga, Tenn.
On the same day, Governor Bobby Jindal issued an Executive Order authorizing the Adjutant General of the Louisiana National Guard to identify and arm National Guard personnel at military facilities in order to protect those facilities.
On July 18, Governor Greg Abbott announced that he will authorize the Adjutant General John Nichols of the Texas National Guard to arm National Guard personnel at military facilities across Texas.
“It is with a heavy heart that I issue this order,” said Governor Abbott. “After the recent shooting in Chattanooga, it has become clear that our military personnel must have the ability to defend themselves against these type of attacks on our own soil. Arming the National Guard at these bases will not only serve as a deterrent to anyone wishing to do harm to our service men and women, but will enable them to protect those living and working on the base.” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson likewise authorized the states’s adjutant general to arm full-time personnel at military facilities across the state. In the statement, Governor Hutchinson said, “I want to join in those who are calling for greater security at our recruiting stations and military installations. We’ve had numerous instances of attacks. Clearly they are a target, and for us to have unarmed military personnel makes no sense, which is why I am directing Major General Mark Berry to arm full-time personnel as he deems necessary at military installations.” On Saturday, Governor Mike Pence issued an Executive Order directing the Adjutant General to enhance security measures at all Indiana National Guard facilities including recruiting storefronts across the state.
“As commander-in-chief of the Indiana National Guard, I will not permit our citizen-soldiers to remain unable to defend themselves and our citizens at facilities in our state,” Gov. Pence said (see video below). “Hoosiers may be assured that those who have stepped forward to defend our state and nation will have the ability to defend themselves.” Florida Gov. Rick Scott took extra steps. First, the governor said he wants Guard recruiters to move from six storefront locations in Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Miami into nearby armories. That will give state officials time to evaluate and make security improvements, including possibly installing bullet-resistant glass.
Then Gov. Scott asked local law enforcement agencies to arrange regular security checks for Florida National Guard armories. And then he ordered that the state “begin to streamline the application process for military men and women to apply for a Florida concealed weapons license to ensure Florida Guardsmen and other United States military personnel who have signed up to serve their country in battle abroad can also adequately defend themselves at home.” Their actions were in marked contrast to federal military officials, such as Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno, who said only that a review will be made of security measures at recruiting stations. And ABC News Pentagon Digital Journalist Luis Martinez reported that the U.S. Marine Corps has ordered its recruiters to stop wearing uniforms at work as part of an overall security strategy, post Chattanooga.