The veterans standing guard outside the military recruiting offices in Wichita Falls may not be there much longer.
They have been outside of the offices for three days. After the incident in Chattanooga, Tennessee, they felt it was time to take a stand in hopes for change. Since their first day, it appears more people are supporting them.
“We’ve got a lot more folks coming out volunteering their time, which is helpful,” Mac Mastroni, a retired veteran said.
Despite their efforts, they received a statement from the public affairs office asking them to leave. The statement said, “While we greatly appreciate the support of the American public during this tragedy, we ask that citizens do not stand guard at our recruiting offices. Our continued public trust lies among our trained first responders for the safety of the communities where we live and work.”
Regardless of the request, the veterans standing guard do not plan on standing down. They explained they are just exercising their rights.
“We’re not stopping anybody going in or out. You know, we’re not asking any of the recruiters for, hey can you get us water, can you do this,” Mastroni said, “We’re not asking them for anything. They’re not asking us for anything and that’s the way it should be.”
He explained if they are asked to leave by either the property owner or any law enforcement official they will. He said they are law abiding citizens and aren’t trying to cause any trouble. However, he explained they have a back up plan if they do have to leave the property.
“We’re going to go where we can go and if that’s public property, then it’s public property,” Mastroni said.
He said they plan to stay out there as long as they can.
Newschannel 6 reached out to U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry about the situation. He released this statement:
“I have great admiration for all our nation’s veterans and their desire to protect those still serving. I think the best solution is to allow military service members to defend themselves when they are here at home. My committee has been working on a bill that would require the Secretary of Defense to come up with procedures to allow our service members to carry their weapons on military installations.”
Congressman Thornberry explained this is something he and the committee has been working on since the tragedy in Fort Hood. He also explained he is not sure when the bill could go to the floor for a vote. However, he hopes by the end of the month. He also added by saying this is the best time to push this forward.