Marine veteran to arm employees after Chattanooga shooting

Marine veteran to arm employees after Chattanooga shooting

A Marine veteran and businessman who founded a moving company that employs veterans says he will now have at least one armed veteran on duty to provide security for their office.

"While my staff works, at least one (emphasis on AT LEAST ONE) of my veterans will be armed and providing over-watch and security while the day's work is done," Nick Baucom, founder and president of D.C.-area moving company Two Marines Moving, wrote on Facebook. 

His announcement follows last week's killings of four Marines and one sailor by a lone-wolf attacker. The violence has led to a debate about the guarding of recruitment centers, and more broadly whether members of the armed forces should always be armed.

"My employees, all current or former military, will be able to defend themselves should the need arise," said Baucom, an Iraq veteran who served in the Marine Corps for six years, and a Memphis, Tennessee native. 

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Baucom, who once worked as a recruiter for six months, called for President Obama to allow troops to be armed on U.S. military facilities. 

"Mr. President.......can you say the same for your Marines? I challenge you to use your executive power, change the law, and allow those that protect us to protect themselves!" he wrote. 

Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, a Kuwaiti-born citizen, opened fire Thursday at an armed forces recruitment center and then at a Navy and Marines Reserve Center. 

There were no armed troops at either location, due to laws that limit the powers of military personnel to act as domestic law enforcement. 

On Friday, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said the Army was reviewing security at Army facilities, and Defense Secretary Ash Carter ordered a two-week review on how to improve security at military installations. 

Odierno said he expected these types of lone-wolf attacks to continue, citing a threat from attacks inspired by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The FBI said it was treating last week's shooting as "terrorism," although officials say there is no indication yet the shooting was connected to or inspired by any terrorist group. 

"What could have prevented this attack? While it is very difficult to prevent alone gunman attack, the damage could have been mitigated or eliminated if even one of those Marines was armed," Baucom said.

He said his employees would not be armed while on moving jobs, due to stringent D.C. gun laws, but at the company's office in Virginia. 

"It's my elective to have a gun in my home or office," he told The Hill. "We are a hard target at Two Marines Moving." 

So far, six governors have signed orders in the last several days to allow National Guard troops to carry loaded guns on base and at military recruiting centers, in Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Indiana, and Arkansas.

Tennessee Reps. Scott DesJarlais (R) and Steve Cohen (D) introduced a bill on Monday to allow troops who are authorized to carry firearms to possess them on bases. 

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Tenn.) also said he would introduce similar legislation in the Senate.

"Just because a member of our Armed Forces is not deployed to an active war zone does not mean they are safe from those who wish to do harm," Moran said.

"These brave individuals must be empowered to defend themselves and others from violence and acts of domestic terrorism," he added.

Baucom said any Marine death is felt by the entire service, since it's the smallest military branch. 

"Any Marine, current or prior, can attest to the deep bonds that develop beginning with boot camp that only grow and mature over a lifetime. An attack on one of us is felt by all, and our heroes will be remembered and missed," he said.