Governors in Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Indiana and Texas have issued orders authorizing National Guard troops to carry personal firearms at bases and recruiting facilities. The moves follow the shooting of several Marines at a Naval Reserve training center in Chattanooga, Tenn. July 16.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence commented that, "As commander-in-chief of the Indiana National Guard, I will not permit our citizen-soldiers to remain unable to defend themselves and our citizens at facilities in our state. Hoosiers may be assured that those who have stepped forward to defend our state and nation will have the ability to defend themselves."
The politics of this are pretty interesting. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Texas Gov. Rick Perry are declared presidential candidates, while Pence is often mentioned as a potential candidate. Florida's Rick Scott and Oklahoma's Mary Fallin are also prominent Republicans. We can assume that other Republican governors will likely follow suit, showing they're prepared to double down on the right to bear arms, despite the supposed recent leftward shift in public opinion.
The Obama administration will take heat for failing to allow active-duty personnel to carry licensed firearms, as will anti-gun governors in California, Connecticut, New York and other states who are unlikely to make similar declarations. It will be tough to explain why Indiana Guardsmen should be able to protect themselves while their comrades in Massachusetts cannot, especially in the wake of an attack.
The ban on personal guns on military bases was one of the Clinton administration's first anti-gun maneuvers. It will be interesting to see if Bill Clinton backtracks on that one as he has reversed himself on drug penalties enacted at the same time.
Allowing troops to carry personal arms is no panacea. Not everyone will be armed all the time. And you can be sure that the media will avidly report any mishaps like a Navy recruiter shooting himself in the leg with a concealed pistol.
But if the potential of meeting a carry holder deters another Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez from attacking a recruiting office, progress has been made. Of course, that deterrence may just move him to that kindergarten or church or post office down the road that remains a "gun free" zone. We won't be truly secure until his kind know there's no place, anywhere in America, they can strike with impunity.