MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has ordered the state’s National Guard leadership to develop a plan to arm national guardsmen while they are on duty.
The announcement comes in the wake of shootings in Chattanooga, Tennessee in which five service members were killed by a radical Islamist at two separate military facilities.
One of the most crushing images in the aftermath of the shootings showed the bullet-riddled glass front door of a Marine recruitment center with a “No Gun Zone” sign prominently displayed. The massacre has brought to the forefront the policy of not allowing members of the armed services to carry weapons while on duty in the United States.
The governors of Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas have in the few days since the shootings ordered their National Guardsmen to arm themselves for protection so they are no longer “soft targets” for would-be attackers.
On Sunday, Governor Bentley moved in that direction as well by ordering Major General Perry G. Smith, the Adjutant General of the Alabama National Guard, to develop a plan to arm national guardsmen serving in the state.
“Governor Bentley believes that National Guardsmen should be armed when on state active duty,” Jennifer Ardis, the governor’s communications director, told Yellowhammer. “The Alabama National Guard leadership is reviewing the policies and procedures for arming Alabama National Guardsmen, to make sure that they and the citizens of Alabama are protected. The Governor has asked General Smith to develop a plan that will allow Guardsmen to be armed and safely protect themselves and Alabama citizens from any source of danger. The Governor’s directive is for the plan to be the safest, most secure and responsible manner to arm the men and women who serve in the Alabama National Guard.”
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— Cliff Sims (@Cliff_Sims) June 9, 2015