I recently joined military veterans and local leaders in front of the Armed Forces Recruiting Center in Tonawanda to unveil another part of our “Shake up the Status Quo” legislative plan.
This plan, comprised of my top legislative priorities, includes supporting and defending our service men and women.
This bill (S6021C), which passed in the State Senate, establishes policies to improve the security and protection of National Guard recruiting centers and ROTC units across the state. The legislation currently sits in the Assembly after they did not take it up for a vote this legislative session.
The bill was first introduced last July, after a gunman shot and killed five service members at a military recruitment station and naval training center in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Currently, military recruitment center employees are unarmed. My bill would change that, directing the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs (DMNA) to make necessary changes to National Guard recruiting centers and ROTC units. The changes would better protect and defend employees, recruits, visitors and other individuals against any acts of violence or terrorism. The Division would then issue a yearly report on the progress of improvements being made.
The Division of Military and Naval Affairs (DMNA) would implement the following changes:
· Provide a sidearm, or issue permits to carry a concealed firearm, to full-time National Guard and ROTC personnel employed at recruiting centers or ROTC sites;
· Improve and strengthen building security by installing metal detectors, bulletproof glass, video surveillance equipment and barricades to limit vehicle access at military sites;
· Relocate recruiting or training centers to armories or other secure locations; and
· Implement any additional measures deemed necessary by the DMNA to protect employees, recruits, visitors and any other individuals at New York National Guard recruiting centers and ROTC units.
This measure is, unfortunately, a reflection of the society we live in with imminent threats to our nation and communities becoming more and more prevalent. Unarmed soldiers, such as members of the National Guard and ROTC, are targets on domestic soil and need stronger defense policies in place to safeguard them as they protect us. This bill provides these brave individuals with the tools they need in order to keep them safe from active shooter situations or domestic acts of terrorism. It’s critical that the Assembly Majority acts on this bill to prevent future tragedies.
“Yes, Senator Ortt, we need to improve security at our National Guard and recruiting centers to protect our service members!”