The Marine Corps announced Tuesday that it was authorizing Marines and civilians in Marine Corps law enforcement roles to carry personal firearms while on base.
Lieutenant General George Smith, Deputy Commandant, Plans, Policies, and Operations, announced in a press release that the Marines were changing their policy following December shootings at Naval Air Station Pensacola and at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in Hawaii, which left five dead.
“These tragic events prompted Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC) to accelerate existing efforts to develop concealed carry policies,” the memo reads.
Marine Corps spokesman Captain Joseph Butterfield said that approximately 3,200 individuals will be eligible to carry their personal firearms under the new policy, according to the Washington Examiner. Before the change, only Marine Corps law enforcement officials were allowed to carry service weapons while performing on-duty tasks.
On December 6, Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a Saudi Air Force second lieutenant who was training at Naval Air Station Pensacola, opened fire at the base before he was shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies. The shooting happened just days after Navy sailor Gabriel Romero shot two civilians before killing himself at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.
In the aftermath of the Pensacola shooting, U.S. officials confirmed they were investigating a string of anti-American tweets made by the gunman before he began shooting. SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist media, reported that the gunman did not claim allegiance to any group, but echoed famed Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.
The Navy then suspended flight instruction for Saudi military trainees in Florida while investigations were ongoing.