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Civilians Take Up Arms To Protect Service Men, Women

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Posted at 6:00 PM, Jul 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-07 09:10:12-04

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Chattanooga shootings were a call to arms for some here in middle Tennessee.

More than a dozen men and women with weapons have been standing guard outside military recruiting offices in Murfreesboro.

They said it's a show of force to protect those who have vowed to protect us.

Federal law has prohibited weapons inside military recruitment offices, but there was nothing to prevent civilians with guns from standing guard outside.

A group gathered outside the mililtary recruitment offices on Old Fort Parkway with sidearms and rifles. Clearly they meant business.

"What happened in Chattanooga. It won't happen here. Anyone come shooting, they will meet resistence," said Tim Guy.

"Two to the chest. One to the head," said Matt Woodard.

After what happened in Chattanooga they knew those at military recruitment offices can be targets.

In most cases - under a federal law passed in 1992 - they have been prohibited from arming themselves.

"It's absurd they can't protect themselves while on the job," said Woodard.

"They need somebody to protect them," said Daniel Blake.

For these guys it was a chance to give back to the men and women of the armed services who have put their lives on the line to serve.

"Us as civilians need to protect these guys because they protect us," said Cornell Isabale.

They vowed to stay on the job for days, weeks, or even months until something is done to better protect those in armed services working stateside.

There has been an effort now to change things. U.S. Representative Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee has been among the lawmakers proposing a bill to repeal the ban on weapons inside military recruiting offices.

Those who have supported a continued ban cite the potential for accidents and the desire to be more welcoming to recruits.

Critics said the ban needs to be lifted because the recruiting offices have now become targets for homegrown terrorists.