Volunteers stand guard over Gwinnett recruitment centers

Despite the soaring temperatures, a small group of volunteers stood guard over several armed services recruitment centers in Gwinnett County Monday.

"I dubbed it 'Operation Safeguard' because, you know, we are [going to] keep them safe," explained Michael Meehan of Lawrenceville.

Meehan and others organized shifts on Facebook after being inspired by similar efforts across the country in the wake of the Chattanooga shooting. Federal guidelines prohibit military members from carrying weapons at recruitment centers. So, the group kept armed watch outside. 

The volunteers chose the shopping center near Gwinnett Place Mall because it includes recruiting offices for the Navy, the Marines, the Air Force and the Army. 

"This is my home recruiting station right here," said Meehan. "Back in 1998, I actually enlisted for the Navy right here and I had to come protect my home.  You know, this is my military home." 

Protecting service members was not the only goal of the watch; David Vazquez said he hopes their actions will spark a conversation of change. 

"My ultimate goal is where they lift that ban on our service members being able to carry firearms on bases or even while being at the recruiting stations,"
Vazquez explained. 

The group hopes to have volunteers at the shopping center every day until federal guidelines change to allow members of the military to carry guns to protect themselves at work.