Officers at Recruitment Centers Should Be Armed, Say Congressman

A bill was introduced this week that would give troops the ability to carry weapons at military recruitment centers.

Sen. Steve Daines (R) of Montana and Marine veteran Rep. Duncan Hunter (R) of California introduced the legislation in the wake of the fatal attacks on service members las week in Chattanooga, Tennessee at an armed forces recruitment center.

Called the Securing Military Personnel Response Firearm Initiative Act, or "SEMPER FI," the bill would allow military officers, including non-commissioned officers, to be armed when at recruitment centers, or to improve structural security at the centers, according to thehill.com.

"The fastest way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. It's time to allow our men and women in uniform—including our military recruiters—to have all the resources they need to protect and defend themselves,"Daines said in a statement.

"We want to make it tough for anyone who might think of busting into a recruiting office with the intent to do harm," said Hunter, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. "Any person or group of people who make that mistake should know that there are a few Marines, soldiers or other service members on the other side of that door who've heard the sound of gunfire, who've had all the right firearms experience and training, and who aren't defenseless."

The legislation is independent of an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for 2016 currently before Congress that would allow service members to carry firearms on base.

The legislation is the latest in a handful of bills introduced calling for the allowance of troops to carry weapons on military facilities in the face of a growing threat from Islamic extremists who have encouraged attacks individuals in uniform.

Under the order of Gov. Bill Haslam, Tennessee temporarily relocated all seven of its National Guard storefront recruiting offices to armories and is now accelerating handgun-carry permit applications for Guard members. Other states have taken similar measures to heighten security.