Vet lawmakers: Let recruiters carry weapons

Vet lawmakers: Let recruiters carry weapons
© Getty Images

Reps. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardOvernight Defense: Details on 2 billion compromise defense bill | Space Corps dropped from bill | Mattis requests probe into Texas shooter's records Vet lawmakers urge Trump to halt heated words with North Korea Week ahead: North Korean threat to dominate Trump's Asia trip MORE (D-Hawaii) and Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), both veterans, say the Defense Department should consider allowing officers at service recruiting centers to be armed in the wake of the deadly shooting in Tennessee that killed four Marines.

“I recognize what the recruiters are saying, that, you know, they want to have an open and inviting and welcoming environment to be able to talk to those who are interested in serving our country in uniform,” Gabbard, who served in Iraq, said Thursday on CNN’s “The Situation Room.”

But, she noted the attack in Chattanooga and a 2009 shooting at a recruiting center in Little Rock, Ark., that killed two Army soldiers were both drive-by shootings.

ADVERTISEMENT
“This tells me we need to do more about putting bulletproof glass, perhaps, to make it so you have at least one more line of defense in these recruiting stations,” according to Gabbard, a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

“Look into the possibility of having some kind of armed guard there, whether it's a military service member or some other type of guard, so that you at least have a way for our trained warriors to be able to defend themselves against these types of attacks,” she added.

Meanwhile, Hunter, a Marine Corps veteran who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, said he plans to introduce legislation that would allow the Defense Department to OK military recruiters carrying weapons or make additional outside security available.

"Until we get our hands wrapped around this, we have to allow the people who represent the United States military to defend themselves, at the least," he said in a statement. "If you go on any base, you have armed security there … recruiting centers in a strip mall, they have no defense against people who just hate America and hate our military. They've got nothing."

The California Republican, who also serves on the Armed Services panel, said he would finish hammering out the bill sometime Friday and introduce it in the House soon.

But Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said allowing recruiters to carry weapons might have unintended consequences.

He also said there might be legal issues involved with instituting such a policy, The Associated Press reported Friday.

Federal authorities have identified Thursday’s shooter as Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Kuwait. He was also killed.

Thursday evening, President Obama said a full investigation into the shooting was underway.

He said it was “heartbreaking” that members of the military who served with “with great valor have been killed in this fashion.”