- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 21, 2015

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The commander of Michigan’s National Guard said Tuesday that 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.

Major General Gregory Vadnais, adjutant general and director of the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, said military and civilian personnel with concealed-carry licenses already 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 Tuesday that Gov. Rick Snyder should follow the recent 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 has announced planned legislation requiring full-time personnel to be armed to protect themselves.

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 clear 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, told The Associated Press in a phone interview that “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 both their official and civilian capacities.

Guard personnel are trained to use M-16 rifles, Glenn said. He 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.

Wisconsin’s Republican Gov. Scott Walker issued an executive order Tuesday ordering National Guard personnel to carry firearms while on duty.

The Michigan National Guard has 13,000 personnel, 43 armories, five installations and eight recruiting stations, Vadnais said. He said he first ordered a security review in September due to Islamic State group threats against uniformed military and global terrorist attacks, and accelerated it in October after attending the funeral of a Canadian soldier gunned down as he stood ceremonial guard in Ottawa.

Snyder joined President Barack Obama on Tuesday in calling for all U.S. flags to be lowered to half-staff through Saturday to honor those killed in Chattanooga.


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