CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said Friday that a ban on carrying guns in military recruiting offices should be lifted.
He made the comments Friday during a town hall-style event in Carson City, Nevada, a day after a gunman killed four Marines and wounded a sailor and another Marine at a pair of military facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee. His statement drew enthusiastic applause from the crowd.
“It seems to me that if you have military bases or recruiting offices, these are symbols of American might, they’re targets,” Bush told reporters after the event. “This is how you garner attention. You go to places where there’s vulnerability, and it’s a very powerful symbolic attack on our country.”
Bush, who called for a moment of silence for the victims at the beginning of the event, said the attacks should also prompt the U.S. to heighten national security and “deal with the rest of the world in a more aggressive way.”
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He noted that Congress would need to act for the gun ban at recruitment centers to be repealed.
“If the Marines were armed, I think people would’ve known that, and if they had known it, maybe they wouldn’t have come in,” he said. “Who knows. I just think it ought to be reviewed for sure.”
On Friday, the Army’s top officer said that security at military recruiting and reserve centers would be reviewed, but it’s too early to say whether the facilities should have security guards or other increased protection.
Gen. Ray Odierno, chief of staff of the Army, told reporters that arming troops in those offices could cause more problems than it might solve.
The former Florida governor pointed to his high ratings from the National Rifle Association as he appeared in largely conservative northern Nevada and said law-abiding citizens who have the right to self-defense make the world safer. He noted that Florida has both a high rate of concealed carry weapon permits and falling crime rates.
Bush’s visit to Nevada included the town hall in Carson City and a planned speech in Las Vegas on Friday night.