A pair of New York state lawmakers are suggesting Governor Cuomo to use an executive order to arm National Guard members in the wake of the Chattanooga terrorist attack.


Seven states are taking action to arm their National Guard members. Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin says New York should be the eighth.

“If we sent them off to war to protect this nation they would certainly be armed. To leave them unprotected in their place of business is unconscionable and it needs to change,” he said.

A federal law dating back to 1878 prevents military from engaging in domestic law enforcement. But, McLaughlin says there needs to be new laws to face new threats.

“There are radical elements within this nation that want to do harm to us as citizens and certainly to our military because they are high profile targets,” he said.

The WNYT report cites an anonymous former national guardsman who disagrees with the proposal, saying that by putting the Guard and the police force on the same level would be “a step toward a totalitarian state.”

McLaughlin however, took to social media to say that while he understands that concern he’s “not calling for troops to be policemen, I’m calling for them not be easy targets at work.”

He added:

What didn’t get shown in the interview was me talking about 9/11 and the fact that we armed pilots after that. That was a logical response to a clearly increased danger. So is arming our troops.

Assemblyman Jim Tedisco agrees, saying “the Governor should use his authority as Commander in Chief of the New York National Guard to  arm our Guard members to protect the lives of civilians and our brave service men and women.”

Tedisco argues that Cuomo could execute this plan on his own, without federal authority.

Tedisco wrote:

While the President and Congress should allow our active duty service members to be armed, we don’t need permission from the federal government to make this happen for New York’s reservists — nor should we wait for federal action.

The Governor can and should do this immediately.

What do you think of this proposal?