The NRA has been instructing Indiana's National Guard members on how to use concealed weapons after the governor directed the state's military bases and training centers to beef up security in response to attacks in Tennessee. According to a survey by the Associated Press, Indiana is the only state to enlist the NRA's help in the training, which the gun-rights group says it will conduct free of charge for any guardsman who wants to carry a concealed handgun. Although National Guard members traditionally have not been allowed to carry weapons while conducting most stateside duties, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is one of 14 governors who decided to arm them in the wake of a gunman's attacks last month on two military sites in Chattanooga that left four Marines dead.
Gun control advocates argue it's inappropriate for a state to involve a political lobbying organization in training members of the military, and even some National Guard officials from states that allow guardsmen to carry weapons question why a civilian organization is needed. "This is a military problem to deal with, so we're going to deal with it with the military," said Lt. Col. Joel Lynch, a spokesman for the Arkansas National Guard, which is handling the training of its Guard members itself. Guy Relford, an NRA instructor who recently trained about 65 Indiana guardsmen at an armory in Franklin, said his "basic pistol" course delves into safety scenarios on when and when not to shoot. (Read more National Guard stories.)