TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (TheBlaze/AP) — Governors in at least a half-dozen states ordered National Guardsmen to be armed in the wake of an attack on two military facilities in Tennessee, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott went a step further Saturday by immediately relocated recruiters to armories.
Members of the FBI Evidence Response Team continue to investigate the shooting at the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office on July 18, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. (Image source: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
In an executive order, Scott said he wants Guard recruiters to move from six storefront locations into armories until state officials can evaluate and make security improvements, including possibly installing bullet-proof glass or enhanced surveillance equipment.
Scott said during an interview with CNN that recruiting centers could be targets and that's why he wants the National Guard moved until officials are "comfortable" that they will be safe.
"We've got to understand that you know we have people in our country that want to harm the military," Scott said. "They need to be safe and they need to be armed."
As governor, Scott oversees the Florida National Guard and can act without federal involvement. He ordered officers to make sure all full-time members of the guard are armed "in the interest of immediately securing Florida National Guardsmen who are being targeted by ISIS."
Governors in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Indiana took similar actions.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Saturday said he authorized the adjutant general of the Texas National Guard to arm Guardsmen at military facilities across Texas.
"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," Abbott said. "Arming the National Guard at these bases will not only serve as a deterrent to anyone wishing to do harm to our servicemen and women, but will enable them to protect those living and working on the base."
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on Saturday also ordered the arming of the National Guard.
All the governors who've so far taken these actions are Republicans.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter late Friday asked the military services to determine if additional steps can be taken to ensure people are safe at military installations, and said he wants a report back by the end of next week.
Tennessee Congressman Scott DesJarlais said he has drafted legislation entitled the "Enhancing Safety at Military Installations Act" that would repeal bans on military personnel carrying firearms on military recruitment facilities and bases. Wisconsin U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said he plans to introduce a similar bill.
"By disarming the Armed Forces, gun-free policies at military facilities have made our men and women in uniform easy targets for terrorist attacks," Johnson said in a statement.
U.S. military officials have said they will review security measures for their recruiters but that it's too early to say whether the facilities should have security guards or other increased protection.
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