Wisconsin arms National Guard members, adds security after Chattanooga attack


With a community still mourning the death of one of its own following last week's shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, officials in Wisconsin have taken steps in hopes of increasing the security of National Guard members.

On Tuesday, Gov. Scott Walker issued an executive order that allows the state's National Guard members to carry a firearm while on duty, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

In addition, the state added armed guards to four National Guard recruiting centers – Eau Claire, La Crosse, Madison and Milwaukee, KSTP reports.

“Safety must be our top priority, especially in light of the horrific attack in Chattanooga,” Walker said, according to a National Guard news release.

The decision comes in the days following the death of U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Holmquist, one of five service members killed when suspected gunman Mohammed Youssuf Abdulazeez opened fire at two military sites in Chattanooga on Thursday.

The 25-year-old was raised in the Wisconsin town of Grantsburg, a few miles from the Minnesota border, and graduated from Grantsburg High School in 2008, KARE 11 reports.

The governors of Florida, Texas, Oklahoma and Indiana have approved measures similar to Wisconsin's orders, WQDA reports.

Minnesota, up to this point, has not made any changes to security.

Earlier this week, a spokesperson told the Star Tribune the Minnesota National Guard is not planning to arm members who aren't working security.

Gov. Mark Dayton also said he won't order security upgrades at National Guard recruiting stations at this point, but acknowledged the subject will probably be discussed at a meeting of governors in Washington this week, the paper reports.

The Guard did tell KSTP they've been preparing in case an attack were to happen, saying security measures "will continue to be evaluated and enhanced" as needed.

Dayton has ordered flags be flown at half-staff at all state and federal buildings through sunset Saturday.

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