Arizona National Guard prepares to arm service members for self defense

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Gabe Johnson
  • Arizona National Guard
The Arizona National Guard will arm service members on duty at Guard installations and facilities across the state under the direction of an executive order signed by Gov. Doug Ducey today.

Arizona is among several states that recently announced new policies for giving National Guard Soldiers and Airmen the ability to defend themselves and deter armed attacks such as the July 16 assault on United States Marine Corps and Navy facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee, that killed five service members.

Prior to the executive order, the Arizona National Guard's security posture aligned with the U.S. Department of Defense's in-garrison standards - generally, only service members charged with force protection and installation security carry weapons on duty. While larger Guard installations have assigned full-time security personnel, several armories and recruiting stations in the state typically do not. The National Guard is in a unique position to undertake additional security measures as directed by the governor, who is the commander-in-chief of the National Guard in the state.

"The safety and security of our Soldiers, Airmen and civilian employees is our highest priority," said Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire, the Adjutant General, Arizona National Guard. "We are developing a plan that fulfills Gov. Ducey's executive order and best protects our service members and our fellow Arizonans."

Guard officials plan to issue weapons and provide training to hundreds of Soldiers to enhance force protection at potentially vulnerable duty stations.

Additionally, officials will create a policy that gives service members authorization to carry non-military personally owned handguns in National Guard facilities. With appropriate training for safety, self-defense and active shooter response, members will be authorized to carry privately-owned handguns while on duty giving them the same level of self defense afforded to other residents of the state according to Arizona laws.