Guns may become more prevalent and visible on military bases in the United States as governors across the nation issued executive orders to arm National Guard officers. The orders are in response to the shootings in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Thursday that left five servicemen dead.
"After the recent shooting in Chattanooga, it has become clear that our military personnel must have the ability to defend themselves against these types of attacks on our own soil," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement Saturday.
The executive order grants John Nichols, the adjunct general of the Texas National Guard, authority to order guns carried on military bases. "Arming the National Guard at these bases will not only serve as a deterrent to anyone wishing to do harm to our service men and women, but will enable them to protect those living and working on the base," Abbott's statement continued.
Similar orders were issued in Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana and Oklahoma as of Saturday afternoon.
In response to the Chattanooga shootings, I have directed General Berry to arm full-time military personnel. pic.twitter.com/qqTwVobi9M
— Gov. Asa Hutchinson (@AsaHutchinson) July 17, 2015
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence authorized the National Guard in cooperation with other law enforcement bodies in his state to increase security measures at facilities as well as recruiting storefronts. "Hoosiers may be assured that those who have stepped forward to defend our state and nation will have the ability to defend themselves," Pence said in a statement issued Saturday.
As @INGuardsman commander-in-chief I will not permit our citizen-soldiers to remain unable to defend themselves/citizens at facilities in IN
— Governor Mike Pence (@GovPenceIN) July 18, 2015
Florida Gov. Rick Scott also ordered all full-time National Guard members to be armed, granting a weapon to any current member who did not already have one. He also ordered guardsmen to work from armories instead of storefront locations, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
Today I released an E.O. to ensure FL does everything possible to protect military in wake of Tennessee shooting. http://t.co/In44tWfI3s
— Rick Scott (@FLGovScott) July 18, 2015
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who announced his entry into the 2016 presidential race last month, urged U.S. President Barack Obama to take action on a federal level.
I issued an Executive Order authorizing the LA National Guard to arm Guardsmen to protect military facilities. I hope @POTUS does the same.
— Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) July 18, 2015
Other governors have chosen not to take executive action, and the nation's leaders have not required increased security. Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, has said it is too early to decide whether recruiting and reserve centers should have security guards or other protections, the Christian Science Monitor reported.
Federal authorities are investigating the attack at the military facility in Chattanooga. Five servicemen, including four Marines and one Navy petty officer, were killed. The suspected gunman, Mohammod Youssef Abdulazeez, also died, but authorities have declined to release details on his death.
“We haven't determined whether it was an act of terrorism or a criminal act,” U.S. President Barack Obama said Thursday in a statement following the attack.