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State rep says Michigan National Guardsmen need sidearms to protect themselves

U.S. Army photo Staff Sgt. Kimberly Bratic
Staff Sgt. Kimberly Bratic

A state lawmaker wants to require Michigan National Guardsmen to be armed when on duty, even if they are just staffing a recruiting office.

State Representative Gary Glenn says military personnel need to be ready at all times to defend themselves. 

“They’re trained to protect us.  They ought to be able to protect themselves,” says Glenn. 

The Midland Republican points to last week’s attack on a military recruiting office in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Five US servicemen died in the attack. The gunmen was later shot and killed by local police officers. 

Six states, including Indiana, require guardsmen to carry sidearms while on duty.

Glenn wants the same to be the law in Michigan.

“In today’s world, we should not leave military personnel, whose uniforms alone put a target on their backs, unarmed and undefended in public venues like recruiting offices and even on National Guard posts,” says Glenn. 

Currently, Michigan law permits licensed individuals to carry person weapons at Michigan National guard facilities, but they are not required to be armed. 

Gov. Snyder’s office issued a statement reading in part:

“Gov. Snyder believes that protecting the safety of our service personnel, and all who visit or are consider enlisting, is vitally important. Increased safety measures were immediately set in place, and there has been increased vigilance.”

The statement also says the “effectiveness” of the current rules are under review to see if “additional steps are warranted.”

Glenn is still reviewing other state policies and plans to submit his legislation sometime in August when the legislature returns to work.     

The law Glenn is proposing would not change any of the policies regarding US service members.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.