- Associated Press - Friday, December 18, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Ohio National Guard reopened four storefront recruiting centers Friday amid new security policies that include the arming of personnel statewide.

The announcement followed security reviews at the state’s 72 Guard facilities and updates to training and requirements. Some personnel at all 72 facilities are now carrying either government-issued or personal firearms.

“We must take the necessary action to protect our members,” said Major General Mark Bartman.

Gov. John Kasich ordered the reviews following a deadly July shooting in Tennessee.

Personnel had traditionally been unarmed in part because they work on state property, where Ohio law generally prohibits weapons.

Ohio joins 22 other states where Guard personnel have been authorized to carry weapons after the Chattanooga shooting, whose victims included a sailor who grew up in Paulding in northwestern Ohio and a Marine whose father lives in central Ohio.

In that shooting, Kuwaiti-born gunman Muhammad Abdulazeez first fired shots from his car into a military recruiting center in a Chattanooga strip mall before driving about 7 miles to a Navy-Marine reserve center where he killed four Marines and the sailor and wounded a fifth Marine before Chattanooga police killed him.

On Wednesday, the Navy said it will award the Purple Heart to those who were killed and injured after determining the shooting was inspired by foreign terrorists.

After the shooting, the Ohio Guard temporarily moved personnel from four storefront recruitment offices in Columbus, Dayton, Findlay and Painesville to nearby armories.

The state has 66 Guard recruiting centers, most of them in armories.

Among other states where Guard recruiting personnel are authorized to carry either personal or government-issued weapons: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

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Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/andrew-welsh-huggins

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