Wisconsin governor and presidential candidate Scott Walker has issued an executive order allowing National Guard members of his state to carry weapons while on duty. The mandate followed last week’s shooting at a military recruitment and reserve center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, that left four Marines and a sailor dead.
“Safety must be our top priority, especially in light of the horrific attack in Chattanooga,” Walker said, according to WBAY news. “Allowing our National Guard members to carry weapons while on duty gives them the tools they need to serve and protect our citizens, as well as themselves.
In the aftermath of the shooting, the national debate over gun rights reignited, with particular focus on “gun-free” zones, International Business Times reported last week. Members of the military at the Chattanooga site were not permitted to carry weapons, though some reports suggest one of the Marines killed Thursday may have exchanged fire with the gunman using a privately owned pistol. That's being investigated, along with the gunman's possible links to militant groups overseas.
Proponents of Second Amendment rights, in the wake of mass shootings at schools or military sites, frequently cite the dangers of “gun-free” zones.
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump promptly called for an end to “gun-free” zones, one day after the shooting. "We have to start doing something with these gun-free zones," Trump said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "They were sitting there and they were just targets for this madman."
State Senator Mike Bell of Tennessee announced Monday that he has filed a resolution requesting federal action to end gun-free zones at military installations.
“We cannot in good conscience send young men and women abroad to fight our enemy, only to disarm them when they serve here at home,” said Bell in a statement, according to WKRN news. “Our military men and women have the inherent right to carry a firearm and the training to do so effectively and responsibly. It has now been clearly established that our soldiers, sailors, Marines and airman are targets of jihadi terror,” he said.