Shaun Raines says he spent four years in the Marine Corps and another six working as a federal police officer. Back home in Savannah, Georgia, he was shocked to hear about what happened in Tennessee. A gunman attacked two military facilities, killing five servicemen.
So Monday morning, when recruiters for the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines showed up to their offices in a Savannah strip mall, they found Raines. He was outside the offices armed with a rifle and handgun, displaying both.
Raines said no one had asked him to come, but he felt it was the right thing to do. “One of the things I learned not only in the Marine Corps but also in security forces, the best deterrent is presence,” he said.
Raines said his conceal carry permit allows him to display his weapons. Savannah-Chatham Metro police say that permit and a change in Georgia law allow Raines to do what he did Monday. However, neither police nor Army recruiting officials were encouraging. There is “always some concern about safety for our soldiers and civilians when someone is walking around with weapons,” an official said.
Raines disagrees. “I’m out here today to make sure that the ladies and gentlemen (inside these recruitment centers) can do their jobs safely,” he said. Raines claimed he talked to recruiters. “When I introduced myself at first they were really relieved. I’ve had conversations with every single one of them,” he said.
Raines said he also went to all the offices in the strip mall and told everyone what he was doing. He said everyone seemed to think it was fine.
Camie Goods visited the office recruitment center. She was preparing to say goodbye to her son, who is joining the Air Force. “Oh, I’m so thankful. I’m so thankful, and I’m hoping that the administration will definitely allow that our armed servicemen who are sitting ducks out here will be carrying sooner than later,” Goods said about Raines. Currently, Department of Defense rules do not allow recruitment officers to carry weapons in the office.
Raines said he is a member of the nonprofit group Oath Keepers and that he has put the word out for other local members to join him. “I took it upon myself to do exactly what I needed to do today,” he said. “If somebody else takes the baton, that would be great.”