WASHINGTON — Richmond County’s congressman has signed on to a bill that would allow active-duty military members to carry guns at recruitment centers following last week’s deadly attack at a Navy support center in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Rep. Richard Hudson joined Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-California, to introduce a bill known as the SEMPER FI Act, which would authorize the military to allow its recruiters to be armed when they’re at recruitment centers or allows them to improve structural security at recruitment centers.
“At a time when terrorists such as Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez are killing Americans on American soil, our federal government is foolishly disarming our service members at recruitment centers,” Hudson said in a statement. “These patriots have the proper training and are trusted to protect us overseas — they should not have their hands tied behind their backs to defend themselves when they are serving here at home.
“Renee and I join the nation in mourning the deaths of our brave Sailor and Marines in Chattanooga, and I will continue to work to keep their fellow men and women in uniform safe both at home and abroad.”
The bill’s formal name is the Securing Military Personnel Response Firearm Initiative Act.
Authorities say Abdulazeez, who is accused of researching martyrdom on the Internet while plotting the shooting spree, first fired on a military recruitment center at a strip mall before the attack on the naval center on July 16.
Five service members — five Navy sailors and one U.S. Marine — were gunned down. Abdulazeez was killed in a shootout with law enforcement.
“Our service members are targets and must be kept safe, but most are barred from carrying military-issued firearms at recruitment centers by a 1992 Department of Defense directive,” Hudson said.
Hudson, R-Concord, represents North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District and was elected to his second term last November.