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Navy To Put Armed Guards At Reserve Centers After Chattanooga Shootings

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AP Photo / Bebeto Matthews

Starting in October, armed personnel will stand guard at the 70 Navy reserve centers that aren’t located on military bases. Navy reservists were contacted nine days after the July 16 attack in Tennessee asking if they’d be interested in volunteering, according to emails obtained by NBC.

Mohammod Abdul Azeez’s killing of five unarmed servicemen sparked outrage among pro-gun politicians and citizens. GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump sent a flurry of tweets calling for an end to "gun-free zones" on U.S. military bases, writing that the Marines "never had a chance."

In the weeks following the shooting, militia members and armed citizens took it upon themselves to stand watch at dozens of recruitment centers across the U.S.

Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oath Keepers militia group, called on volunteers to guard the stations, and told the Columbus Dispatch that “it may be worse to be in a recruiting station” than to “walk unarmed down the streets of Baghdad.”

Military personnel have been forbidden to carry personal firearms into recruiting centers and onto bases since 1993. Though the Navy is only stationing guards at off-base reserve centers for now, NBC reported it's considering extending this program to recruitment centers as well. As of August, the Navy is the only branch of the armed forces that plans to place armed guards at its facilities.