Walker Orders State National Guard To Carry Arms

Move Comes In Response To Chattanooga Shooting

National Guard (CC-BY)

Gov. Scott Walker has joined six other governors in issuing an executive order to arm National Guard members to protect against attacks on military recruitment centers.

The order is a response specifically to the threat of attacks like the one last week in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where a gunman killed four Marines at a storefront recruitment center.

National Guard spokesman Major Paul Rickert said the guard complied with the governor’s order Tuesday.

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Major General Donald Dunbar ordered a review of security measures at all Wisconsin Guard locations, and directed the four Wisconsin Guard storefronts to have armed security personnel.

Groups of veterans stood guard outside storefront recruiting stations in Madison and in other cities across the country this week, some of them openly carrying weapons. On Tuesday, a spokesman for the U.S. Marines released a statement asking citizens to not do that, and instead trust police officers or the national Guard to provide security.

Recruiters working in storefront centers don’t carry weapons, since federal law prevents the military from enforcing domestic laws. National Guard units controlled by state governments are exempt from the law, known as the Posse Comitatus Act.

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said he’s working on a bill to be introduced soon that will allow members of the armed forces to carry weapons at military installations. In a statement on his website, Johnson said that “by disarming the Armed Forces, gun-free policies have made our men and women in uniform easy targets for terrorist attacks.”

In an email Tuesday, Johnson said: “There are a lot of ideas floating around on the best way to to address this problem.”

He said he plans to collaborate with others in Congress to “ensure we get a bill with all the best ideas that a bipartisan group of senators can rally around and pass.”

The storefront recruiting stations where armed security will be provided are located in Madison, La Crosse, Eau Claire and Milwaukee.

Correction: The radio version of this story said that Gov. Scott Walker had joined seven other governors in arming National Guard soldiers. Walker has actually joined six other governors in doing so.