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Baldwin, Johnson Introduce Competing Bills In Response To Chattanooga Shooting

Legislation Deals With Arming Service Members On Base And At Recruiting Centers

Wisconsin National Guard (CC-BY-NC-ND)

It seems Wisconsin’s two U.S. senators don’t agree on the best way to protect military recruiting centers from terrorist attacks like the one in Tennessee last week: This week, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson and Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin have introduced competing bills to prevent such attacks.

Johnson’s bill is broader than Baldwin’s. It would allow trained military personnel to carry privately owned handguns on all military bases including reserve and recruitment centers. It would also repeal current regulations that prohibit soldiers from carrying their own guns. Military leaders have resisted previous moves to allow service members to carry weapons on base.

Baldwin’s bill focuses only on Reserve and Recruitment centers. It would allow the Department of Defense to assign trained armed military police to guard such facilities. It also calls for installing bullet proof glass to protect recruiters.

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It’s possible some combination of language from both bills will make it into the National Defense Authorization Act that Congress is expected to vote on next week.

Baldwin’s bill would also allow the secretary of defense to make agreements with local law enforcement or the National Guard to patrol the centers.

Johnson’s bill specifies that only service members who have firearms training can carry guns. Both bills refer only to handguns.

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