The Glaringly Absurd Gun Law In The Middle Of The Chattanooga Shooting Case

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Casey Harper Contributor
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The Chattanooga shooting at a Marine recruiting center is bringing to light a gun regulation that prevented Marines from arming themselves and the ensuing debate is sparking legislation to address it.

Police say Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, who appears to have connections to radical Islam, opened fire on two military facilities Thursday, killing four Marines before being fatally shot during a shootout with police.

One Department of Defense gun regulation that has come under fire in the past is now at the center of a debate, with many advocates saying the shooting could have ended much differently. The regulation in question states that military members may not carry a weapon while on duty unless they are in an official security or law enforcement capacity.

In the case of the Chattanooga shooting, the Marine recruiters were prevented from carrying weapons by the federal rule, but if they were off duty and not on federal property they would be permitted to carry a handgun, per Tennessee law.

Essentially, military members are not allowed to bring a gun to work even in states that allow you to bring a gun to work.

Many military members disagree with the policy.

“I was aware that I could not carry my weapon on federal property, nor transport it in the government vehicle I was assigned,” Paul Robbins Jr., a former Marine sergeant who did a three-year marketing and public affairs tour with recruiters, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “They did not discourage me from having a concealed carry permit, but made it clear that it did not allow me to carry on duty. The restrictions really didn’t affect how safe I felt, because I carried my weapon anyway. Despite the clear restrictions, my duties often led me to areas of high criminal activity and I was well aware that recruiting stations were considered soft targets.”

“I feared an attack more than I feared NJP(non-judicial punishment), so I carried,” he added.

The Navy Yard and Fort Hood shootings increased calls for a change to this policy, with advocates saying had the military members been armed they could have defended themselves. Now the Chattanooga shooting is sparking the same debate.

Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter’s office told TheDCNF they are finalizing a bill that would give the Pentagon two options to address the problem: allow officers in charge of recruiting centers to carry a weapon or provide outside security for the recruiting facilities.

“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,” Hunter said in a statement to TheDCNF. “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.”

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