Kasich Eliminates Gun-Free Zones At Ohio National Guard Facilities

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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Ohio National Guard facilities are no longer gun-free, following a policy review launched by Gov. John Kasich after the terrorist attack in Chattanooga, Tenn., in July, which targeted military personnel.

With the new policy shift in place, guns may now be carried at Ohio’s 72 National Guard facilities, The Columbus Dispatch reports. Four recruitment offices have reopened in normal locations. For a while, they were stationed at armories.

Previously, members of the National Guard in Ohio had to remain unarmed because they carried out their activities on state property, an area in which guns are usually prohibited.

Maj. Gen. Mark E. Bartman, adjutant general of Ohio, said in a statement Dec. 18 that “We must take necessary action to protect our members.”

Pressure to change the gun ban began in July when a Kuwaiti-born gunman shot and killed five military personnel at a Navy Reserve center and Marine Recruiting center in Tennessee. During the shooting at Chattanooga, Navy officer Lt. Cmdr. Timothy White fired back at the gunman, Mohammad Abdulazeez, leading to an internal Navy investigation to determine wrongdoing on White’s part. After major public outcry, the Navy announced it would not charge White with discharging a firearm on federal property. It is unclear if White hit Abdulazeez in the back-and-forth exchange.

The security review in Ohio seems to have determined that the risk of accidental discharge does not outweigh the risk of mass shootings at military installations. In November 2009, a shooting at Fort Hood perpetrated by Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan in contact with al-Qaida left 13 dead. Hasan shouted, “God is great!” in Arabic before firing. Hasan is currently on death row in Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

In September 2013, a civilian contractor at the Washington Navy Yard unloaded on innocents, killing 12.

Those shootings gave rise to movements in opposition to the Obama administration’s stance that the Fort Hood shooting was just an instance of workplace violence. Years of legal action and support from members of Congress finally resulted in the military awarding the Fort Hood victims with Purple Hearts and additional benefits. This took place in 2015, which is six years after the date of the shooting.

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