Congress will consider legislation to allow members of the Armed Forces to carry a weapon while working at recruiting centers following the last week’s deadly shooting in Tennessee.
A gunman killed four U.S. Marines and a Navy sailor at two Chattanooga military facilities on Thursday. The gunman was killed by police officers responding to the scene.
U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R -CA) announced Tuesday that he has co-authored proposed legislation dubbed the “Semper Fi Act” that, if approved, would make it legal for military personnel to carry a sidearm for protection.
"They are targets, as are others in uniform, and they should be afforded the type of protection that is adequate for the threat they face," Hunter said in a written statement. "We need to make it tough for anyone who might think of busting into a recruiting office with the intent to harm."
His co-author is U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-MT).
Tennessee Congressman Scott DesJarlais said he has also drafted legislation that would repeal bans on military personnel carrying firearms at 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.
Currently, those members of the military working at recruitment centers around the country are unarmed.
Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith, a reservist serving on active duty in Chattanooga died alongside four U.S. Marines. They have been identified as Lance Cpl. Squire K. Wells, of Cobb, Georgia; Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, of Hampden, Massachusetts; Sgt. Carson Holmquist, of Polk, Wisconsin, and Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, of Burke, North Carolina.
Federal officials identified the shooter in Chattanooga as 24-year-old Muhammed Youssef Abdulazeez, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Kuwait. Abdulazeez's motives remain unclear, although authorities are treating it as a domestic terrorism investigation.
In Wisconsin, Republican Gov. Scott Walker issued an executive order Tuesday authorizing National Guard personnel to carry firearms while on duty.
Walker, who is seeking the 2016 presidential nomination, on Friday called for an end on a ban on service members carrying guns in federally operated military recruiting offices. Jeb Bush and Donald Trump, two other Republicans seeking the presidential nomination, called for an end to the ban on the same day as Walker.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, yet another GOP presidential hopeful, issued an executive order on Friday authorizing his state's National Guard leader to arm personnel. A number of other governors have issued similar orders as well.