Gun owners set up positions outside of a Marine recruiting office to protest the long-standing rule that prohibits employees from having weapons.
In honor of those who lost their lives in Chattanooga, the flags Wednesday at Brenham's Courthouse Square remained lowered. A block away, flags of defiance were flying high near the Marine recruiting office. It was a show of support organized by John Deans.
"Yeah just one day of relief, it’s where they don’t have to watch their back; we've got their back for today,” said Deans.
It was expected that about 30 people with concealed handgun permits would answer Deans' call to join him. Sarah Rassa was among those to stand guard in front of the recruiting office.
“I just feel like, that all citizens, either part of the Armed Forces or not, need to be able to protect themselves,” said Rassa.
The gathering was called “Arm our Eagles”, a protest of a federal policy that does not allow military personal to be armed while at work. The Department of Defense policy, prohibiting guns in the workplace, dates back to 1992. Legislation has been introduced this week on Capitol Hill to remove the ban.
Marshall Mohr joined the protest wearing an American flag t-shirt that read "I'd take a bullet for her." It’s a promise he said that also includes the Marines.
"They are supposed to be protecting us, and we are going to protect them, it works both ways,” said Mohr.
For the Marines in the recruiting office it was business as usual. They were not allowed to talk to reporters but a statement was issued by command staff.
The statement reads:
“While we greatly appreciate the support of the American public during this tragedy, we ask that citizens do not stand guard at our recruiting offices. Our continued public trust lies among our trained first responders for the safety of the communities where we live and work."
At a barber shop across the street from the Brenham recruiting office, Elroy Dannhaus didn't let the group outside distract him from cutting hair. But John Muegge, who was getting a trim, kept a close watch.
"We certainly don’t want people who don’t know how to operate weapons walking around with them. That gets a little scary,” said Muegge.
Unlike gatherings at other recruiting offices, no one in Brenham had reason to notice what was going on. That's because no guns were seen. Dean didn't think it was appropriate.
“But there is a time and a place for everything and this is not that. Plus I want put myself in the Marine's shoes. They just got hit less than a week ago, by a guy with an AR, so if they see someone walking up, is he friend or foe, he has an AR, that’s all I know, so this will cause them less concern,” said Deans.
Deans promised to be back as long as he felt they were needed.