NASHVILLE — State Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville) announced today that he has filed a resolution calling for federal action to end gun-free zones at military facilities. Bell drafted the resolution in the wake of the attack on two military sites in Chattanooga, Tennessee on Thursday.
Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez killed U.S. Navy Petty Officer Randall Smith, Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Sullivan, Marine Corps Sergeant Carson Holmquist, Marine Corps Lance Corporal Skip Wells, and Marine Corps Staff Sergeant David Wyatt during the attack. Military facilities and personnel have been threatened by jihadists plotting to conduct violence within the United States.
“We cannot in good conscience send young men and women abroad to fight our enemy only to disarm them when they serve here at home,” said Senator Bell. “Our military men and women have the inherent right to carry a firearm and the training to do so effectively and responsibly. It has now been clearly established that our soldiers, sailors, marines and airman are targets of jihadi terror. We must give them the means to defend themselves — and us –when the War on Terror hits home.”
“This policy developed over two decades ago, was a very bad decision and certainly does not recognize current threats of terrorism faced by our military facilities today,” added Bell. “It should be removed immediately. The continuation of the policy makes facilities across the nation a prime target for acts of terrorism like the horrific attack in our state.”
The gun free zone sign was visible on the door of the facilities which were ridden with bullet holes fired by Abdulazeez. On Sunday, Governor Bill Haslam issued a directive to Tennessee Adjutant General Max Haston to review security policies and procedures at National Guard armories, storefront recruiting facilities, and other installations and take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of Guardsmen, citizens, and property. He also instructed Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons to assess the process for issuing handgun permits to trained members of the military.
The resolution filed by Bell states, “we hereby urge Congress and the President of the United States to review and revise law and policy regarding the carrying of firearms by military service members on military installations or facilities so that military personnel can both help prevent and more readily defend themselves from terrorist attacks against such facilities.”
In 2009, U.S. Army Private William “Andy” Long was shot and killed outside a Little Rock, Arkansas, recruiting center by a Jihadist terrorist, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad (formerly known as Carlos Bledsoe). Bledsoe was also from Tennessee.
“The tragedy in Chattanooga serves as a grave reminder of the enemy we face,” added Bell. “Hopefully, we will see quick action by Congress or the President to change this policy before the Tennessee General Assembly returns in January. But if they do not, this resolution will be ready expressing the people of Tennessee’s strongest recommendation that we give our soldiers the tools they need to defend themselves if attacked in the future.”