Military members at a Virginia recruitment center noticed a man standing near their building Friday — and he was armed with a loaded AR-15.
But this man meant them no harm. Instead, following the attacks on military personnel in Chattanooga, he had come to stand guard and protect the servicemen who are prohibited from carrying firearms at the recruitment centers.
The man, who wished to remain anonymous, told WTTG-TV that he wanted to make a statement on his day off.
"People need to call their congressmen, they need to call their senators, and they need to change the laws on the books so these guys can protect themselves," he told the news station.
The man said he had been warmly welcomed from the individuals at the Winchester recruitment offices, telling WTTG that they had come to visit him, bringing lunch and thanking him for what he is doing.
"I was received with handshakes and thank you. They came by. And not only did they come by, their wives came by, in tears, thanking me for just being out here," he told WTTG. "They brought cookies for me. They brought lunch."
He said police had previously come by "doing their duty."
"It was all good," he said.
The man said that while he has never served in the armed forces himself, he is "certainly thankful" for the men and women who have died in the past "to secure those freedoms."
"We need to know what our rights are and not let anyone take them away. There are too many people who died for these freedoms," he told WTTG.
The attacks in Chattanooga, claiming the lives of four Marines, have a renewed debate on whether military personnel should be armed on military bases. Several Republican presidential candidates have weighed in, saying that they would immediately reverse current policy and allow servicemen to carry firearms.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) authorized Friday the state’s adjutant general to arm military personnel at certain military facilities, in the wake of Thursday’s deadly attacks in Chattanooga.
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