July 28, 2015
By: Natalie Rubino
The activists standing guard outside military recruiting centers in Tallahassee were almost forced off the property, Tuesday.
Ivan Chiplinsky served as an army ranger in the early 90's. Today he's fighting in a different way to protect fellow military.
"Our oath is that we swore was to support and defend the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic," he said.
Chiplinsky and his group call themselves the Oath Keepers.
They've been standing guard with their concealed weapons outside military recruiting centers in response to the Chattanooga shootings.
On Tuesday Chiplinsky says the owner of the Westwood Shopping Center asked them to leave.
"We cannot leave until we have done our due diligence and we have been forced to leave," Chiplinsky said.
The group said that they were approached early Tuesday morning by the property owner to leave the complex. However, some business owners and store employees told Eyewitness News that they support the Oath Keepers' presence.
"I think it's their right, especially with everything else that's going on," Candace Hughes a worker in the complex, said.
Currently, military recruiting officers are not permitted to be armed while working.
"I think they should be able to, to protect themselves. My father was in the military so if anybody were to..I would want him to able to protect himself if anybody came in and tried to harm them," Eboney Samuel of Tallahassee said.
The Oath Keepers say they'll stand guard as long as they're needed.
Eyewitness News reached out to the owner of the complex but did not hear back.
The Leon County Sheriff's Office says it did not show up to remove the group because it never received a written request from the property owner.
By: Winnie Wright
July 27, 2015
Tallahassee, FL - Armed civilians stood guard outside of Tallahassee's two Armed Services Recruiting Centers Monday. It comes in response to the shooting earlier this month in Chattanooga that left five servicemen dead.
"It's ludicrous that these guys are not able to be armed", says retired military member, Peter Ribaudo.
That's the message a group that calls themselves the Oathkeepers was trying to get across.
"Yes, it's to protect the guys, our brothers, fellow military. I'm allowed to have a gun, I'm allowed to have a voice. They're not allowed to have either one. In fact, they have to just shuffle out, and I can't imagine being in their spot", says Leon Oath Keeper Chapter Leader, Ivan Chiplinsky.
The Oathkeepers say because the recruiters must be unarmed, they are virtually sitting ducks,something Florida law-makers have acknowledged.
Despite Florida Governor, Rick Scott, moving all recruiting operations in to the armories for safety reasons shortly after the Chattanooga Shooting, for leadership at the Henry Mcmillan National Guard Armory in Tallahassee, they say everything is running business-as-usual.
However at the recruiting centers, it was not business-as-usual. The doors remained locked, aside from the occasional serviceman coming in and out. The Oathkeepers say, they will be there as long as they're needed, to protect those men and women.
"We have a vested duty to be responsible for our own security and the security of our neighbors", continues Chiplinsky.
The Oathkeepers say they are all current and former members of the U.S. military with Concealed Weapons Permits. Their firearms were not visible at Monday's event.