PIQUA —Recruiters for the Ohio National Guard may get the opportunity to carry firearms, particularly those in “store front” office locations. According to a press release from his office, the Adjutant General of Ohio, Major General Mark E. Bartman, is revising policies and training provisions for personnel at Ohio National Guard recruitment offices. Bartman is reviewing all security standards at these facilities and authorizing these personnel to carry a firearm, according to the press release.
This move comes from the instruction of Governor John Kasich.
“The governor has made it very clear that we must take action to protect our members who are actively engaged in public recruitment efforts,” Bartman said in a press release. “We are updating our policies and strengthening small firearm training so that those men and women staffing our recruitment offices may protect themselves in the event of a threat.”
Ohio temporarily closed four of its Ohio National Guard “store front” recruitment offices in Painesville, Findlay, Columbus, and Dayton earlier this week in response to the shootings in Chattanooga, Tenn. The staff at those facilities were moved to nearby armories.
Operating out of an armory versus a store front
The Piqua branch of the Ohio National Guard is located in an armory, which presents a less vulnerable target.
“We’re a secure facility here,” Sergeant First Class Robert Shattuck said. “We’re not in a store front.”
For recruiting offices operating out of a store front or at a location with another organization like the YMCA, there is more access for outsiders. In Shattuck’s personal opinion, personnel may need more of an opportunity to protect themselves.
“Those places, they might need a little more security,” Shattuck said. Shattuck explained that the Ohio Adjutant General Department is “reviewing everything to come up with a solution.”
At the Piqua Ohio National Guard Armory, individuals must first ring a doorbell to gain entrance. Before entering, guardsmen are able to assess if the visitors are a threat.
Shelby County Sheriff issuing emergency CCWs
In Shelby County, Sheriff John Lenhart announced how the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office will be issuing emergency concealed carry permits (CCW) to local military recruiters in store front locations or armories for their safety.
“It was my opinion… that it was the best interest in our area to issue this,” Lenhart said. “The Sheriff’s Office will absorb the costs.”
Lenhart explained that the decision to do so stemmed from extremist groups targeting law enforcement and military personnel, such as the recent incident in Chattanooga, Tenn., where four Marines and a sailor were killed.
“I think it’s important that military personnel know that we support them, and we want them to be safe, and we want their families to be safe,” Lenhart said. Lenhart also wants to provide these recruiters with this security measure as soon as possible rather than wait.
“My main objective is to protect the people,” Lenhart said.
Lenhart is also able to issue CCWs to residents of in Miami, Darke, Mercer, Logan, Auglaize, and Champaign counties due to them being “continuous counties” with Shelby County.
By noon on Tuesday, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office issued eight concealed carry permits to members of their local recruiting offices. They are expected to issue more later this week.
Lenhart said that he is committed to doing everything in his power to ensure the safety of these military recruiters.
Civilian loses control of weapon
In connection with the desire to provide safety for military recruiters in store fronts, citizens have shown up at military recruiting centers across the country to provide protection for recruiters following the Chattanooga incident.
In one unfortunate incident related to this trend, authorities in Lancaster, Ohio, said an armed civilian accidentally fired a shot from an AR-15 rifle outside a military recruiting center, according to the Associated Press. No one was hurt.
Police in Lancaster reported that Christopher Reed, 28, was holding the rifle outside the center on Thursday when someone asked to look at the weapon. While Reed was clearing the ammunition from the rifle, he accidentally fired a shot into the pavement.
Reed was given a summons to appear in court on a misdemeanor charge.
Reach Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall