Jul 20, 2015 5:33 PM
MANCHESTER - As a recruiter walked up to the door of the Armed Forces Career Center on South Willow Street on Monday, he reached in his pocket and took out a key.
The door of the military recruiting center was locked, and the blinds were closed. A sticker on the window told all those entering that it is against federal law to carry a firearm inside.
Outside, however, stood about half a dozen men who called themselves "Citizen Patriots."
Some were dressed in armored attire. All carried military-styled guns, including rifles and pistols, in addition to ammunition.
One man said their purpose here was simple.
“We want to be the defense that’s going to protect our men inside there today from any threat that could possibly come their way," said volunteer Stevie D, who told NH1 News that their goal is to get the attention of lawmakers. "We need to arm our men and women in the military," D said.
With their boots on the sidewalk, they stood watch for any threats.
Their presence outside New Hampshire recruiting centers comes less than a week after an attack on a similar military career center in Tennessee.
The shooting rampage resulted in the deaths of 5 American service members.
The lives lost, the volunteers said, were an absolute tragedy that they will not let happen again.
"You can’t put a price on freedom," D said. "And for me to sit out here 8 or 9 hours a day is a small price to pay for what these men and women pay everyday for us – the sacrifice they made.”
Although volunteers in Manchester said they were not affiliated, other armed groups also stood outside recruiting offices in Concord and Keene.
And don't expect them to leave their posts anytime soon. The Citizen Patriots said they will stand guard until laws are changed, and service men and women working at recruiting offices can bring their weapons inside.
“To be armed, and then to push that forward to Washington to protect the guys in the recruiting stations that are soft targets," said Brian Blackden, who stood guard in Concord. "For all intents and purposes, [they're] fish in a barrel, and it’s not right.”
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