Southeast Missourian: State Senator Wants Governor to Allow National Guardsmen to Carry Weapons

Originally posted here: http://www.semissourian.com/story/2216601.html

Monday, July 27, 2015
By Savanna Maue ~ Southeast Missourian

After a mass shooting in Tennessee that resulted in the deaths of four Marines and a sailor July 16, members of the state’s Republican Caucus asked Gov. Jay Nixon to sign an executive order that would allow Missouri National Guardsmen to carry weapons.

State Sen. Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau, supported the effort and said Friday he felt it was important because of changing times.

“The spectrum of conflict has changed a little bit since I was in the United States Air Force, and now it’s hard to identify who your opponent is in that spectrum of warfare,” Wallingford said. “And you can’t find a more highly qualified professional than our United States military, the reserves and the National Guardsmen, and they’re trained in the handling of weapons continually.”

Even though Wallingford flew airplanes during his time in the service, he said he still was trained to use various guns each year.

“That’s the duties of our people that are enlisted — to enforce law and order when necessary — and you want someone who’s highly trained and capable to be able to do that, and they are,” he said.

Current law, known as the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, restricts armed forces from carrying weapons on U.S. soil. The law restricts the military from acting as domestic law enforcement, according to the RAND Corporation, a research organization that develops solutions to public policy challenges.

This law applies only to the Department of Defense and federal forces, not state-held forces such as the National Guard. The National Guard has its own set of restrictions that can be overturned by executive order.

Currently, only military police may carry weapons on bases.

Wallingford said this order had been in the back of his mind before the Tennessee shootings.

“I think for awhile I’ve often wondered to myself, ‘you know, why this hasn’t been done before?’ in the past, but I think we’ve reached the point now where people realize we do need to change our thought process and our tactics and that preparation, and that now is probably as good a time as any,” Wallingford said.

The U.S. Army Recruiting Center Cape Girardeau said since the Tennessee shootings, it has not changed any security measures at its facility, nor did they have any plans to do so.

Capt. John Quin, director of public affairs for the Missouri National Guard, said is it against policy to discuss specific security measures regarding increased security at The Missouri National Guard armory in Cape Girardeau.

“The safety of our Guardsmen and communities are paramount, and all security precautions are enacted through a deliberate planning process meant to maximize safety while minimizing any negative impact on our ability to act as a community-based organization,” Quin stated via email. “Today and every day, the Missouri National Guard works hard to continuously improve force protection measures throughout the state.”

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