The Pentagon asked Friday that individuals not stand guard at the military recruiting offices in the wake of the deadly Chattanooga terror attack.
Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in a statement that Secretary of Defense Ash Carter “is currently reviewing recommendations from the services for making our installations and facilities safer - including our recruiting stations” following the July 16 attack that left four Marines and a Navy sailor dead.
“While we greatly appreciate the outpouring of support for our recruiters from the American public, we ask that individuals not stand guard at recruiting offices as it could adversely impact our mission, and potentially create unintended security risks,” Cook added.
In the days following the attack, citizens groups, veterans, local law enforcement and the National Guard have stood watch outside of recruiting offices across the country. It’s also raised questions over a 23-year-old federal policy that leaves service members unable to defend themselves on Pentagon property.
James Elmore, a Florida Army veteran who has standing watch outside his local recruitment office armed with a handgun, says he has no intention of standing down,
"I no longer take orders, and I will continue to protect the recruiters when I can. It is my duty as an American," Elmore told Fox News. "I will be back out there Monday morning. So if you are asking me if I will stand down according to the Pentagon's wishes, no, not a chance."
Elmore also says that the recruiters welcome his presence.
"The Navy and Air Force recruiters have thanked me," Elmore told Fox News.
The governors of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin have all signed orders in the last several days to allow National Guard troops to carry loaded guns on bases and at military recruiting centers in their states.
Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and Saralyn Norkus contributed to this report