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Military and Veterans Are Targets. They Should Be Able To Protect Themselves.


Just as many Americans have concealed weapons permits, so too should soldiers be afforded the ability to protect themselves, their families, and fellow service members.

Marine Veteran Joshua Blea pays his respects at a memorial in front of the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office on July 18, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. (Image source: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

With attacks on military personnel in our homeland increasing and radical Islamic followers on social media calling for more, the commander in chief and Virginia must act.

The Islamic State has called Virginia a target. If the Virginia governor won’t act, then I will. Political ideology must be set aside for what are basic inalienable rights: The right to live and the right to bear arms. That is why my office is working on legislation that will protect lives.

Now, it is important to understand what I am and am not advocating forin this article.

I am not advocating for uniformed troops holding assault rifles, posted outside a recruiting office in a strip mall. I am not advocating for every single military member to be carrying an assault rifle around our communities. We trust him or her to do so when they are protecting us overseas, but even at bases in war zones, there are rules. Americans do not want soldiers patrolling around on our soil in an aggressive posture or with overt weapons.

Most do, however, believe military members have the right to defend themselves just like any other citizen.

Marine Veteran Joshua Blea pays his respects at a memorial in front of the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office on July 18, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. (Image source: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

What I am advocating for is that military members who are located in “soft” areas, those without many protection measures, to have the ability to carry a side arm — concealed or open — or have easy access to one.

In places like recruitment offices, the military members would need to have the rank of at least non-commissioned officers. These are mature and experienced members of our military. If a soldier already has or obtains a concealed carry permit, with the competencies those permits require, then he or she should be able to carry concealed while vulnerably sitting in a recruitment office. What I am advocating for is the ability for our service members to protect themselves, their families, and their fellow service members.

It is both encouraging and embarrassing that citizens were taking up arms in Virginia to protect military recruiters after the Chattanooga shooting.

The Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has rightfully asked the military to give him more security measures by the end of this week. However, he also told Marines and others not to wear their uniforms.

What does this say to potential recruits? How does this affect the pride and tradition of our armed forces? This is our homeland, not a covert Special Forces mission in Somalia.

Further, simply changing into civilian clothes does virtually nothing to protect a service member or prevent a watching wannabe killer from identifying who the recruiter is. It is an insult to the military members Secretary Carter leads and to millions of veterans around the country.

There is debate about which presidential administration started this policy: President George H. W. Bush or President Bill Clinton. Does it matter?

We are in a different era. With the disastrous success of terrorist attacks such as Fort Hood, the Navy Yard, and now Chattanooga, this will happen again. Success breeds success. Until we get serious, show leadership, and offensively counter radical Islamic physical gains and their virtual narrative, we leave those and their families who have run to the fight, time and time again, vulnerable to death.

Virginians understand and overwhelmingly support the right of our military members to protect themselves and their families. Gov. Terry McAuliffe should act immediately to protect the Virginia National Guard, as seven other governors have. Virginia has over 800,000 veterans who are looking to the governor for leadership, despite his political inclinations.

If those with concealed pistols protect him and his family, why can’t citizen soldiers protect themselves with the same? Aren’t some things more important than politics?

TheBlaze contributor channel supports an open discourse on a range of views. The opinions expressed in this channel are solely those of each individual author.

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