2016 Victories: Allowing our Military Professionals to Defend Themselves | American Center for Law and Justice
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Allowing Our Military to Defend Themselves

By ACLJ.org1482328800000

This is the latest installment in a year-end series looking back at a few of the many victories by the ACLJ in 2016.

In July 2015, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez opened fire on two military sites in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He first committed a drive-by shooting at a recruiting station in a shopping center, then traveled to a United States Naval Reserve Center seven miles away and continued firing, where he was killed by police in a gunfight. Four U.S. Marines died on the spot at the recruiting center. A U.S. Navy sailor, a Marine recruiter, and a police officer were also wounded; the sailor died from his injuries two days later.

It was the end of December before the FBI Director finally announced that the attack was motivated by international terror groups who had inspired the shooter.  However, it was also revealed that the United States military had a policy of never allowing service members to carry weapons in public stateside, a policy that included recruiters.  None of the Marines and Sailors who were shot that day in Chattanooga were armed.

As 2016 began, we spoke up and you stood with us as we demanded that American military personnel be allowed to defend themselves, whether at home or overseas.  The war we are fighting with radical Islamic jihadists does not stop at our national borders.  The enemy our troops fight in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria has its own soldiers of terror who have launched multiple attacks against our homeland.

Over 50,000 of you stood with the ACLJ and our men and women in uniform, as we sent an urgent legal letter to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter respectfully demanding that our troops be allowed to protect themselves, even when they are home.

Ashton Carter responded with a two-page memorandum that changed the policy.  The new policy allowed the service secretaries of the branches of our military to review and revise the prohibition of our troops being armed.  As a result, more stateside recruiters and other military personnel are now allowed to arm and defend themselves due to the reality of a heightened threat environment, even when serving stateside here at home. 

It was a vital step in the right direction, and our ACLJ National Security team couldn’t have achieved this victory without your voice and financial support.

To help the ACLJ continue to have the resources we need to make these victories possible and continue these fights, please consider making a Tax-Deductible donation to the ACLJ through our year-end Matching Challenge. Your gift will be doubled dollar-for-dollar through the end of the year.

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