Armed citizens stood outside Boise’s military recruitment office Tuesday, but the Marine Corps Recruiting station spokesperson sent out a statement requesting citizens stand down.
Citizens stood guard at the recruitment center at 8269 West Franklin Road, near the T.J. Maxx store, as part of a national demonstration following the Chattanooga shootings last week that left four marines and one sailor dead. A group pushing for gun rights, 3 Percent of Idaho, said they wanted to guard the recruiting center to protect members of the military who can’t bring personal weapons to any base or center, according to a KIVI report.
They were also there to advocate for policy change that would allow military personnel to bring personal weapons to recruitment centers, according to the KIVI report.
A Marine Corps spokesperson based in San Diego requested these citizen groups cease the demonstration outside of recruiting centers.
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“It has come to our attention that many patriotic citizens have been standing armed guard outside recruiting stations across the country. While we greatly appreciate the support of the American public during this tragedy, we ask that citizens do not stand guard at our recruiting offices. Our continued public trust lies among our trained first responders for the safety of the communities where we live and work,” according to the Marine Corps statement.
Idaho has little say over the issue regarding security for active duty military, a spokesperson for the governor’s office told the Statesman Wednesday.
“As it applies to military personnel, we have no control or say over active duty folks,” he said. “Even though they’re stationed here, they follow Pentagon policy and protocols. That also goes to a large degree with (the) Idaho National Guard.”
Gov. Butch Otter does have the power to request the National Guard to review their security protocols. Otter sent a formal request to the Idaho National Guard Tuesday to review security policies and improve upon them where need be, Hanian said.
Members from 3 Percent of Idaho were not positioned outside the recruitment center as of 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. But by 12:30 p.m., there were three armed men outside the Boise recruiting offices for the Marines, Navy, Air Force and Army.
Only one of the three men – two from Boise, one from Nampa – said he was with the 3 percent group.
“I’m just here to protect our own,” said one of the men, a retiree. He brought his Smith & Wesson M&P rifle. Uniformed officers exiting and entering the recruiting offices stopped to thank the men and shake their hands.
None of the men had heard of the Marine Corps request to stand down. They indicated that they would probably continue to guard the offices.