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Pentagon asks armed ‘citizen guards’ at military offices to stand down

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The Pentagon has demanded that concerned armed citizens stop standing guard at military recruiting offices, saying it itself can handle security following a shooting rampage at two military centers in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

After the rampage, which left four military personnel dead and four others injured on July 16, Americans have started standing guard with handguns and rifles at military recruiting offices.

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook warned on Friday that the volunteers might cause more harm than good.

“We ask that individuals not stand guard at recruiting offices as it could adversely impact our mission, and potentially create unintended security risks,” Cook said.

The warning came after an armed civilian, who was voluntarily guarding a recruitment center in Ohio, accidentally discharged his rifle on Thursday, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

US Properties Group Portfolio Four LLC, which owns the shopping center near the River Valley Mall that includes the multi-branch military recruitment center, ordered the volunteers to leave just hours after the incident.

The shooting at the military ceneters in Chattanooga renewed a debate over military members being unarmed on US land, but the military has resisted arming troops at home.

Cook said on Friday that “we take the safety of our service members, our DoD civilians, and the families who support them very seriously.”

“Secretary of Defense Ash Carter is currently reviewing recommendations from the services for making our installations and facilities safer — including our recruiting stations.”

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