CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Republican presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Scott Walker called Friday for an end to a ban on service members carrying guns in military recruiting offices.
The ban became an issue after a man killed four Marines and wounded a sailor and another Marine on Thursday at a pair of military facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
“It seems to me that if you have military bases or recruiting offices, these are symbols of American might, they’re targets,” Bush said after a town hall-style event in Carson City, Nevada.
“This is how you garner attention. You go to places where there’s vulnerability, and it’s a very powerful symbolic attack on our country,” said Bush, a former governor of Florida.
Walker, Wisconsin’s governor, echoed Bush’s position while campaigning in Iowa.
“I think with ISIS now and the threats that we have not only abroad, but domestically, when our military in particular is potentially a target, we need to make sure that in places like this, a recruiting facility, they’re able to be armed so our heroes are protected,” Walker said.
Bush said the attacks should prompt the U.S. to heighten national security and “deal with the rest of the world in a more aggressive way.” He said Congress would need to act for the gun ban at recruitment centers to be repealed.
“If the Marines were armed, I think people would’ve known that, and if they had known it, maybe they wouldn’t have come in,” he said. “Who knows. I just think it ought to be reviewed, for sure.”
On Friday, Gen. Ray Odierno, chief of staff of the Army, said that security at military recruiting and reserve centers would be reviewed but that it was too early to say whether the facilities should have security guards or other increased protection. He told reporters that arming troops in those offices could cause more problems than it might solve.
Lucey reported from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
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