• New Report: If Ash Carter Wants To, He Can Arm Stateside US Military Personnel

    Considerable legal issues plague proposals to hand weapons to U.S. troops for self-defense following the terrorist attack in Chattanooga.

    new report released by the Congressional Research Service, however, finds that Defense Secretary Ash Carter has the authority to issue firearms to troops stationed in the U.S., effectively clearing up uncertainty surrounding the matter.

    After the deadly attacks committed by 24-year-old Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez July 16 at a Marine Corps recruiting center and Naval Reserve Center, which resulted in the deaths of four Marines and one sailor, congressional researchers came to an answer.

    “Currently, it appears that the Secretary of Defense could rely on his or her general authority to prescribe regulations for the DOD to allow servicemembers to carry government-issued firearms for personal protection at his or her discretion,” the researchers noted, also pointing out that military officials can look into extra training, security cameras and armed guards as alternative force protection measures.

    Had the shooting occurred on an actual military installation, the legal issues wouldn’t have been so thorny, since usually installations already have security checkpoints and armed guards.

    But recruiting centers are different. In order to attract new servicemembers, they’re usually located in easily accessible places to the community.

    Whether the will exists to arm personnel is another question entirely. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, who is preparing to retire in August, said he’s cautious about arming recruiters because of problems like accidental discharge. Additionally, Gen. Mark Milley recently told the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing to become the next Army Chief of Staff that “As far as arming recruiters go, I think that’s complicated, legally.”

    As recruiting personnel are not currently allowed to carry, armed civilians have descended on recruiting centers across the country, in order to stand guard. In Ohio, however, police charged one civilian with a misdemeanor after his AR-15 discharged into the pavement by accident when he was unloading the weapon. Authorities subsequently asked all armed civilians to vacate the area. (RELATED: Armed Civilians Ordered To Leave Recruiting Center After One Accidentally Fires A Shot)

    A Marine Corps memo has instructed personnel to notify local law enforcement as soon as they spot the presence of armed civilians. (RELATED: Here’s The Corps-Wide Memo On Militias Outside Of Recruiting Centers)

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