When the recruitment center in Keene, New Hampshire, is open during normal business hours, armed volunteers say they’ll be there to protect the service men and women inside.
Armed with AK 47’s, AR 15’s or handguns, these volunteers are ready to take action in case there’s an attack at this Army and Marines recruiting center.
Chris Rietmann from the Oath Keepers of New Hampshire says his mission is to keep the military men and women who work at this recruitment center safe from anyone who may want to attack.
“This building, just like the building in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is a gun-free zone, which means that the people that work there are unable to protect themselves should someone come in who intends to do them harm," Rietmann said.
The effort to protect the building is in direct response to what happened in Chattanooga. Military personnel inside recruiting offices are not armed, making them an easy target for attackers who want to go after our nation’s soldiers.
“Everything that is going on today, you never know who’s out there or what they’re targeting, and if you have a place especially like a no gun zone, it's a big target," said Jacob Wallace, a Keen resident. "Especially when it's military-based.”
The recruitment center in Keene which sits on busy West Street in the middle of a commercial area and residential neighborhood, the sight of armed volunteers with long guns, was not what everyone wanted to see.
“I do see both sides especially on a public street like this. I think if they were current military officers, I’d feel a lot better about," Stacie Pirozzi of Fitzwilliam said.
Oath Keepers, which has 40,000 members across 48 states, declares several "orders we will not obey" including those to disarm Americans, impose martial law on a state, and blockade cities, Some perceive Oath Keepers as too radical to associate with, according to NBC News.
Some of the volunteers have served in the military, others have not; but they say they all have gun training.
“As long as they know what they’re doing and I’m assuming they know how to use what they’ve got in their hands, then so be it,” Bernie Rokes of Keene said.
The armed men say they’ll be out here in shifts when the recruitment center is open.
“No place should be devoid of the right to bear arms,” Rietmann added.
Inside the building Monday, the recruiters declined to comment about the volunteer effort outside. Military officials have said they are reviewing security protocols at recruitment centers nationwide.