On July 20, a policy letter from the U.S. Army Recruiting Command (USAREC) instructed recruiters to avoid contact and/or conversation with armed “law-abiding” civilians who volunteer to guard recruitment centers and to report said volunteers to law enforcement “if the recruiter feels threatened.”
Stars and Stripes responded to the letter with a July 22 headline that read, “Army To Recruiters: Treat Armed Citizens As Security Threat.”
According to Stars and Stripes, the letter came at the beginning of a week in which citizens were organizing to stand guard at recruitment stations throughout the country: “Armed citizens — some associated with activist groups and militias — were standing vigil outside recruiting centers in Wisconsin, Georgia, Tennessee, Idaho and elsewhere this week, saying they want to provide protection to service members barred from carrying firearms on duty.”
The volunteerism follows last week’s heinous attack on military offices in Chattanooga, Tennessee, whereby Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez allegedly drove up to one office and opened fire from inside his car before going to a second military center, where he was able to fatally shoot four Marines and one sailor. News quickly spread that the military personnel were unable to defend themselves via policies mandating gun free zones on U.S. military bases, recruitment offices, etc., so citizens stepped in to fill the gap.
The military blog This Ain’t Hell published the USAREC letter in full; here is a pertinent excerpt:
Recruiters will not acknowledge the presence or interact with these civilians. If questioned by these alleged concerned citizens; be polite, professional, and terminate the conversation immediately and report the incident to local law enforcement and complete USAREC Form 958 IAW USAREC 190-4 (SIR)
A similar posture has been struck by Marine recruitment offices in some parts of the country.
For example, the United States Marine Corps Recruiting Station in San Diego issued a statement Monday “asking local citizens not to stand guard by the recruiting offices.”
According to CBS 8 San Diego, the statement said in part:
It has come to our attention that many patriotic citizens have been standing armed guard outside recruiting stations across the country. While we greatly appreciate the support of the American public during this tragedy, we ask that citizens do not stand guard at our recruiting offices. Our continued public trust lies among our trained first responders for the safety of the communities where we live and work.
In related news, on July 22 the Times Free Press reported the Pentagon announcement that it will not be changing the policy that currently prevents “most servicemembers from being armed while on U.S. soil.”
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