Gov. Beshear directs adjutant general to look at tougher security measures in light of Chattanooga shootings

07/22/2015 06:12 PM

Gov. Steve Beshear issued an executive order on Wednesday directing Kentucky Adjutant General Edward Tonini to take any necessary steps to boost security at National Guard facilities.

The order follows the shooting deaths of four Marines and a Navy officer at a military center in Chattanooga, Tenn., last week. The gunman, Mohamad Abdulazeez, had also opened fire at an Army National Guard recruiting center.

The fatal shootings opened a deluge of calls to allow military personnel to carry firearms while on duty, with Wisconsin becoming the seventh state to do so on Tuesday, according to a report by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Some Kentucky Republicans, notably gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin, called for members of the Kentucky National Guard to be armed while on duty, but Beshear said on Tuesday that such a measure is already in place. Active-duty National Guard personnel with permits can also carry concealed weapons in military and recruiting centers, the Democratic governor said at a news conference.

“Adjutant General Edward Tonini established this policy in 2013 as a safety and security measure in response to any threats against guard personnel at recruiting stations, training facilities, armories, administrative offices, on state property or anywhere else state law allows,” Beshear said in a statement Wednesday. “However, in light of recent events, it is both reasonable and prudent to ensure that we are doing all we can to safeguard those men and women who protect us.

“Today’s Executive Order directs Adjutant General Tonini to take any additional steps necessary to increase security in order to keep our guard members and citizens safe. As the head of the Commonwealth and of the National Guard, I want to ensure the safety of our National Guard members, where they train and recruit. This is a major priority of this administration.”

Earlier Wednesday, Beshear ordered flags on state government buildings to be flown at half-staff in honor of those slain in Chattanooga starting Thursday.

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.

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