NASHVILLE — Tennessee National Guard recruitment centers have been relocated to Guard armories, state officials announced today as Gov. Bill Haslam outlined a number of temporary security measures and an accelerated handgun-carry permit process in the wake of last week's fatal attack killing five U.S. servicemen in Chattanooga.
The governor's office revealed that beginning Monday, the state Department of Military began "temporarily" repositioned soldiers working in storefront recruiting locations.
That's intended allow a review of the storefront facilities, intended to provide easier accessibility to would-be recruits, to see "what additional security measures are necessary to improve security at these locations," the governor's office said in its news release.
The Department of Safety and Homeland Security, meanwhile, has now streamlined the handgun permit application process for members of the military. Officials are working with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, which conducts criminal background checks on all handgun permit applicants, to help with the process.
"We have to make sure that we're doing everything we can to ensure the security of our guardsmen after what happened in Chattanooga," Haslam said in a news release. "We're continuing our review to determine the very best long-term security measures, but immediate efforts to reposition soldiers and help them arm themselves are appropriate next steps."
Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons said among other things that the department will use it's mobile driver testing units in coming weeks to make applying for handgun-carry permits "even simpler." The units will travel to areas where members serve so they can apply on the spot for permits and be fingerprinted for background checks.
Haslam, meanwhile, continues to work with the Tennessee congressional delegation on appropriate solutions at the federal level to secure military buildings. The Tennessee National Guard leadership is also coordinating with both state and federal agencies to assess and implement necessary security measures above and beyond those already in place for all Tennessee National Guard locations.
"We are doing everything within our power to ensure that we maintain a safe working environment for these men and women, but it is imperative that we don't rush our analysis and do something that could possibly cause more problems," Haston said.
Under state law, active members of the military, including those in the National Guard and Reserve, may forgo taking a state handgun training course when applying for a handgun carry permit if they have completed at least four hours of handgun training within the past five years through any branch of the military. Military personnel must present documentation of the handgun training using one of the approved forms issued by the Department of Defense.
A list of approved forms may be found at http://tn.gov/safety/article/handgunfaqs.
Read more about the attacks on Chattanooga military facilities
This story was updated at 5:21 to correct a typographical error.