COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gun-toting citizens are showing up at military recruiting centers around the country, saying they plan to protect recruiters following last week’s killing of four Marines and a sailor in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The citizens, some of them private militia members, said they’re supporting the recruiters, who by military directive are not armed.

“We’re here to serve and protect,” Clint Janney said Tuesday, wearing a Taurus 9mm handgun as he stood in a parking lot across from a recruiting center on the west side of Columbus. “What the government won’t do, we will do.”

Similar posts have been set up outside recruitment centers around the country, from Spanaway, Washington, to Hiram, Georgia. Some governors have temporarily moved National Guard recruiting centers to armories and several have authorized Guard personnel to carry weapons at state facilities.

Janney, 38, who runs his own garage door company, is a member of the Ohio branch of the “3 Percent Irregulars” militia. He was joined by four other members of the militia. In Ohio and many states, it is legal to carry an openly displayed handgun or rifle.

The men sat in lawn chairs, occasionally dipping into a cooler for bottles of water, or stood around talking. Some people came by to thank them; others didn’t seem aware of their presence in the large plaza.

Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott said that as long as the owner of the plaza didn’t ask them to leave, the men were not violating any laws. Scott has instructed deputies to check on recruiting centers but not the volunteer guards.

A 1992 Department of Defense directive restricts weapons to law enforcement or military police on federal property, which would include recruiting centers. The U.S. Army Recruiting Command doesn’t have a position on the citizens’ actions as long as they aren’t disrupting the recruiting centers, spokesman Brian Lepley said.


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