- Associated Press - Sunday, July 19, 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam has called for a review of security policies and procedures at National Guard armories and other military installations in Tennessee following a shooting rampage in Chattanooga that killed four Marines and a sailor.

The governor’s office said in a statement Sunday that Haslam has also directed Maj. Gen. Max Haston, Tennessee’s adjutant general, to review current Guard personnel who are authorized to be armed while performing their duties and “identify and arm additional Guardsmen where necessary to protect themselves, citizens, and Guard facilities.”

“We don’t want to leave our folks out there as targets when we’ve had such a horrible event happen just three days ago,” Haslam told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

On Thursday, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez opened fire at a military recruiting office and a Navy-Marine operations center a few miles apart. The Marines and sailor were killed at the operations center. Authorities said the 24-year-old Kuwait-born Abdulazeez was killed in a shootout with Chattanooga police.

Since the shooting, governors in at least a half-dozen states ordered National Guardsmen to be armed, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott moved his state’s Guard recruiters from storefronts in urban areas to armories.

Haslam has asked Haston to examine the security of Guard storefront recruiting centers and work with the U.S. Department of Defense to pursue any available opportunities to enhance the safety of those operations within current federal law and regulations.

The governor also wants the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security to assess the process for issuing handgun carry permits to trained members of the military and to look for ways to streamline it.

Currently, members of the military may forgo taking a state training course with possession of a military identification and documentation of handgun training through their service. However, in light of the Chattanooga shootings, Haslam has asked that alternatives be considered to make the process quicker and easier for military personnel to obtain permits.

House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, an Army veteran of the first Persian Gulf conflict, told The Associated Press that he hopes something can be done to “make sure that these folks are able to protect themselves.”

“If some sort of federal regulation makes it impossible to get them armed immediately, we need to do whatever we can through state law,” said the Chattanooga Republican, who lived in the same neighborhood as Abdulazeez, even though their paths never crossed.

Counterterrorism investigators, meanwhile, continued to interview acquaintances of Abdulazeez and delve into his months-long visit to Jordan last year, looking for clues to who or what might have influenced him and set off the bloodshed.

His family said in a statement issued Saturday through a lawyer that Abdulazeez had suffered from depression for many years and “was not the son we knew and loved.”

“It grieves us beyond belief to know that his pain found its expression in this heinous act of violence,” the statement said.

Law enforcement officials did not return calls seeking comment on the family’s assertion that Abdulazeez was suffering from depression.

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