by ROB MILFORD
18 Jul 2015
The Texas National Guard and Texas Air National Guard got some new orders from Governor Greg Abbott on Saturday: You are authorized to carry loaded weapons on duty to protect yourself and the facility.
“It is with a heavy heart that I issue this order,” said Governor Abbott. “After the recent shooting in Chattanooga, it has become clear that our military personnel must have the ability to defend themselves against these types of attacks on our own soil. Arming the National Guard at these bases will not only serve as a deterrent to anyone wishing to do harm to our service men and women, but will enable them to protect those living and working on the base.”
This follows similar action by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin who authorized their state troops to carry arms while on duty and in armories.
A total of five service members died in Chattanooga, four Marines on Thursday and a sailor several hours later in a hospital. Three other people were wounded by the Kuwaiti-born gunman.
Most of the National Guard armories in Texas are part of the 36th Infantry Division, and are single unit facilities that will handle about 200 troops. The buildings are open to the public, with only the motor pool area being fenced off. No word on what additional security measures will be put in place during drill weekends, but that is largely left up to the unit commander to decide. Prior to this, units were required to perform two drills per year in a “security lockdown” mode, where 100% I.D. checks were required for entry into the facility, and guards were posted at doors and gates.
It is also expected that this order will involve the “full time” National Guardsmen, known as “Army Guard Regulars” who staff the armories during the week and handle recruiting or clerical and maintenance duties.
The Governors office told Breitbart Texas that the Adjutant General John Nichols and the Commanders of the Texas National Guard & Air National Guard will work out the specifics.
A retired senior NCO spoke to Breitbart Texas on background, and said that prior to this, all units maintained their own pistols, rifles, shotguns and heavy weapons, but very little ammo was placed in the armories. He also allowed that for many years, the bolts for the rifles and machine guns were kept at the local police department or sheriff’s office in the property vault for safekeeping, a tradition that began in the 1930’s when National Guard weapons were stolen and used by gangsters to rob banks.
The U.S. military does not allow troops on base to carry firearms, and even those who have a state-issued concealed handgun license. That applies to all Federal Reservations and remains in place and unchanged despite the two attacks at Fort Hood in 2009 by Major Nidal Hassan, who remains on death row at the prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and in 2014 by Specialist Ivan Lopez-Lopez, and the Washington Navy Yard shooting in 2013. Those three incidents resulted in a total of 28 dead and 48 wounded.
Milford is a news contributor to Breitbart Texas. You can follow him on Facebook.