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The Department of Defense on Friday asked armed volunteers to stop guarding recruiting stations in the wake of last week’s deadly attack in Chattanooga.
"While we greatly appreciate the outpouring of support for our recruiters from the American public, we ask that individuals not stand guard at recruiting offices as it could adversely impact our mission, and potentially create unintended security risks," Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement.
Firearms are prohibited at the Chattanooga recruiting station that was attacked by alleged gunman Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez on July 16, and the Marines inside were not armed, in accordance with military policy.
Since the attack, which claimed the lives of four Marines and a Navy sailor who were shot and killed at a nearby reserve center, armed volunteers have stood in front of some storefront recruiting stations to protect them.
In Lancaster, Ohio, a volunteer’s AR-15 rifle accidentally fired Thursday, NBC station WCMH reported. The accidental discharge happened as the volunteer attempted to clear ammunition from the gun and as the weapon was pointed at the ground, the station reported. The bullet struck the pavement, and no one was hurt.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter is reviewing ways to increase security at military facilities, including recruiting stations, Cook said.
"We take the safety of our service members, our DoD civilians, and the families who support them very seriously," he said.
The governors of seven states have authorized the National Guard to arm military personnel on military facilities since the Chattanooga attacks.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno told reporters last week that recruiters are not armed because of the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, which prevents the military from engaging in domestic law enforcement. He warned that overarming military personnel could lead to accidental shootings.