Karina Shagren, a spokeswoman with the Washington National Guard, said the Guard is taking steps to enhance security efforts.
“Our position at this point is it’s not necessary,” Shagren said of arming Guard personnel. “Again, we’ve taken alternative measures to enhance security.”
The Washington National Guard has recruiters in 34 facilities in the state, nine of which are storefront locations, such as in shopping centers.
Wilson cites a 1992 directive issued under President George H.W. Bush’s tenure as the reason why Guard members aren’t armed. The purpose of the directive was to “limit and control the carrying of firearms by DoD (Department of Defense) military and civilian personnel” unless there is a “reasonable expectation that life and DoD assets will be jeopardized if firearms are not carried,” Wilson wrote.
A handful of Republican governors have authorized Guard personnel to carry weapons. Those include the governors of Texas, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma, according to the Associated Press.
Inslee declined to address the letter.
The Washington state lawmakers who signed the letter include Sens. Don Benton, R-Vancouver; Ann Rivers, R-La Center; Reps. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver; Brandon Vick, R-Felida; and Liz Pike, R-Camas.
“We need to let people who are trained have a gun,” Harris said. “They are highly trained. They are capable.”