Roe co-sponsors bill to allow armed personnel at recruitment centers
Published 10:00 am Sunday, July 26, 2015
As the nation continues to mourn the deaths of five members of the U.S. military in last week’s shooting in Chattanooga, some of our nation’s leaders are taking action in hopes of preventing a similar tragedy from happening again.
This past week, the Tennessee delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill as part of a bipartisan effort to protect military and civilian personnel at military bases and armed forces recruitment centers.
U.S. Reps. Scott DesJarlais, R-4th, and Steve Cohen, D-9th, introduced the bills, and among the bill’s co-sponsors is U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-1st, who joined eight other members of the Tennessee delegation in supporting the legislation.
The Enhancing Safety at Military Installations Act seeks to repeal the ban on military personnel carrying firearms on military bases and at recruitment facilities and would also place a prohibition on reinstating such firearms bans on military personnel in the future.
This week Roe also signed onto a bicameral letter to Defense Secretary Ash Carter, led by Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va., encouraging the secretary to modify the Department of Defense regulations that prohibit base commanders from allowing service members to carry personal firearms on military installations.
“Last week a terrible tragedy shook in our state, but Tennesseans are known for our tenacity and willingness to help our neighbors,” Roe said. “The senseless shootings that led to the death of five men who dedicated their lives to protecting others have left us concerned, heartbroken and angry, but the acts of kindness and acceptance that have followed bring hope to our communities.”
“Tuesday evening I was honored to join my colleague Rep. Fleischmann and the rest of the Tennessee delegation on the House floor to honor Sergeant Carson Homquist, Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Sullivan, Lance Corporal Skip Wells, Staff Sergeant David Wyatt, and Petty Officer Randall Smith,” he added. “My thoughts and prayers go out to every person affected by this terrible tragedy, especially the families, friends and colleagues of these brave men.”
In the wake of what Roe called “a terrorist attack,” many questions remain, he said. He compared the shooting in Chattanooga to the 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas.
“Tragedies like this leave us searching for answers and examining our policies in an effort to prevent horrible events like this from happening again. Unfortunately, attacks on our military at home have become all too common over the last couple years,” Roe said “As a Congressman, I believe it is my duty to provide our service members with every resource they need to protect themselves and others – whether at home or abroad – which is why I wholeheartedly support allowing service members to protect themselves on military bases and at recruitment centers.”
Policy must be changed in order to prevent tragedies like the attack in Chattanooga from happening again, Roe said.
“When you put a sticker on the window of a recruitment center saying this is a gun free zone you are basically inviting trouble,” Roe said. “We arm these people and send them into combat and then have them armless and vulnerable when they are here.”
In the age of terrorist attacks, Roe said the nation must change policies in order to protect its military and its citizens.
“The world has changed, this never used to happen,” he said. “We have these radical terrorists whose goal in life is to kill American citizens.”
“This is an American issue and we need to allow our soldiers to protect themselves,” Roe added.