Jul 27, 2015 3:14 PM

Armed NH volunteers still standing guard despite Pentagon's back-off request


The Pentagon had a message for volunteers standing outside recruitment centers Monday: "Stand down."

The pentagon and the secretary of defense are asking volunteers across the nation to back down from standing guard at local recruitment centers after the out pour of voluntary protection after the shooting in Chattanooga.

In statement released from the Pentagon: “We ask that individuals not stand guard at recruiting offices as it could adversely impact our mission, and potentially create unintended security risks. We continue to partner with and rely on first responders for the safety of the communities where our service members live and work.”

The volunteers in NH are keeping watch in light of the Pentagon’s request, but you’ll also see something missing in plain view when you see some - their guns are now concealed.

They’ve taken it upon themselves to compromise.

“To me that doesn’t quite matter,” volunteer Mark Gramatikas said. “The military retired me five years ago, and I recruited out of this station here. It means a lot to me so I’m going to protect it as long as they’re not able to protect themselves.”

Gramatikas said his group is carrying concealed weapons from now on - but not because of the new marching order.

“To conceal carry instead of open carry, that way parents and other people trying to use the establishment aren’t technically afraid I guess,” Gramatikas said.

In Concord, volunteers said it’s business as usual until further notice.

“Might be a cold winter I guess, I’m not moving,” Brian Blackten said.

Parents in Manchester are divided.

Some said they're just not used to the new permanent fixtures in their shopping center.

“That I think makes you uncomfortable as a parent," Allysa Lekaas said. "There’s police and fire fighters for a reason those people are paid to protect us. I don’t think it’s necessary for them to take it upon themselves."

Others took a different approach, instead introducing their kids to men who said they would put their lives on the line by choice.

In the meantime, some recruitment centers are operating differently. Some are no longer on location, and the doors are locked and the shades closed.

“That’s what hits me the hardest," Gramatikas said. " When I joined up out of here you could come in the front door, back door. It just hits me very hard that they have to do that."


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