A group of local citizens has plans to organize armed guards to protect military recruiting offices in Missoula.

President of the United Veterans Council, Susan Campbell Reneau is following the lead of groups in other communities across the country to show support for military installations where recruiting personnel are not allowed to carry firearms.

"I've been in touch with my friends in the NRA (National Rifle Association) and in the Montana Shooting Sports Association, and we're working up a schedule to be posted outside our military recruiting offices starting as soon as possible. We're not going to publish a schedule because I don't want to get anyone in trouble. But, it's important for the bad guys to know that we are not going to be scared into submission. We are going to stand up and protect the Marines and the Army and all the military organizations that truly at this point are sitting ducks."

Five soldiers, four Marines and one from the Navy were shot to death outside military facilities last week in Chattanooga, Tennessee. One of the iconic images involved in the incident was a bullet riddled door with a 'gun-free zone' sticker.

Reneau said she has reached out to the Missoula Police Department, and is confident that she and her fellow citizens will be acting within the law, as long as their weapons are properly registered, they handle their firearms responsibly and are on public property.

Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst did a search of state statutes, and found nothing these groups want to do that would violate the law.

"If these people are not prohibited persons, which means they're legal to carry, they're lawfully carrying weapons that are properly registered, they're not threatening anyone, they're not blocking access, and they're not in a prohibited place, there really are no sate laws that are implicated, and there's nothing that would prohibit them from engaging in that conduct under the state code," Pabst said.

Reneau said the actions of armed local citizens is designed to encourage Governor Steve Bullock to deploy the Army National Guard to protect the recruiting stations, and to eventually convince Congress to allow military personnel, who have already been trained in firearm safety, to carry weapons for their own protection.

KGVO News contacted the USMC Recruiting Command in Seattle, Washington and received the following response.

"We appreciate their intent, but their presence is unnecessary and disruptive to recruiting operations."

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