Michigan Guard ups security, won’t require armed staff
Lansing — The commander of Michigan’s National Guard said Tuesday additional security measures have been adopted after last week’s fatal attack at two Tennessee military facilities, but he stopped short of a lawmaker’s call for arming all on-duty personnel.
Maj. Gen. Gregory Vadnais, adjutant general and director of the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, said military and civilian personnel with concealed-carry licenses have been authorized to have their own handguns at National Guard facilities since March. The guard plans to ramp up “active shooter” drills and to “harden” recruiting centers after the slaying of four Marines and a sailor, he said.
Republican Rep. Gary Glenn of Midland said this week Gov. Rick Snyder should follow the lead of GOP governors in at least seven other states and arm guard personnel “as a matter of duty” at bases, recruiting offices and training posts. He also announced planned legislation requiring full-time personnel to be armed.
While troops at federally run military recruiting and reserve stations are not allowed to carry weapons, guard facilities fall under the state’s scope. “The situation in Chattanooga makes clears that our military personnel in particular are vulnerable, even here at home, and we have a duty to them to make sure that they are in a position to defend themselves and trained to do so,” said Glenn, a former National Guardsman.
Vadnais, however, said “I just am not convinced” of the need to require personnel to be armed with handguns, saying a number of troops are voluntarily seeking concealed-weapon permit training. Acquiring the license, he said, allows them to be armed in their official and civilian capacities.
Guard personnel are trained to use M-16 rifles. Glenn wants them to receive mandated sidearm training as well.
Authorities said Kuwait-born Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, 24, of Hixson, Tennessee, unleashed a barrage of fire at a recruiting center in Chattanooga on Thursday, then drove several miles away to a Navy and Marine reserve center, where he shot and killed four Marines, and wounded a sailor, who later died. Abdulazeez was shot to death by police.
Snyder joined President Barack Obama in calling for all U.S. flags to be lowered to half-staff through Saturday in honor of those killed.