[JURIST] US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter [official website] on Thursday ordered a review of military recruitment office security policies, according to a statement from the Pentagon. Speaking on the order [Stars and Stripes report], Pentagon spokesperson Navy Captain Jeff Davis also noted that existing Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] policy authorized commanders to arm qualified personnel at recruiting offices and other off-base sites. This call to review force protection and security policies, programs and procedures comes in the wake of the shooting at a Chattanooga, Tennessee Navy-Marine reserve center which left four Marines and a sailor dead. Davis further clarified that while considering arming personnel does not mean that is what the services will ultimately decide to do, it does tell them that under DOD policy they have the authority to do so. Carter has requested that a set of plans be ready for review by August 21.
Gun control has a prominent topic in US politics since a school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012. Last December the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled [JURIST report] that a law prohibiting individuals who have been committed to a mental institution for any amount of time from possessing a firearm is unconstitutional under the Second Amendment. This court was the first to strike down a federal gun law under the Second Amendment since the Supreme Court [official website] effectively struck down [opinion] Washington, DC’s ban on firearm ownership six years ago. However, mass shootings in Colorado, Connecticut and elsewhere have spurred some state legislatures to create and adopt gun control laws. In August 2014 a federal judge for the US District Court for the District of Maryland [official website] upheld [JURIST report] portions of Maryland’s gun control law, which banned certain types of “assault weapons” and a limited gun magazines to 10 rounds, explaining that the law served a legitimate government interest of ensuring public safety. In June of that year a judge for the US District Court for the District of Colorado [official website] upheld [JURIST report] two Colorado statutes that expanded mandatory background checks and banned high capacity magazines.