Rep. Peter King said Friday that military personnel at recruiting stations should be armed to prevent future attacks like those Thursday in Chattanooga that killed four Marines and injured three others.
"The personnel there, at least several should be armed," the New York Republican, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, told Wolf Blitzer on CNN.
"The world has changed."
"And we know, whether it is ISIS or other Islamic forces, they have said all military personnel, particularly military and police," should be targets of attacks, King added. "All uniformed persons now are relevant targets."
He called the recruitment centers "a soft, open target," adding that personnel there "should be armed — and we should reinforce them, as far as bullet-proofing the glass, to the extent we can."
"Unfortunately, we've been put in that situation — and we saw the consequences of it yesterday," King said.
Republican presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Scott Walker also called for military personnel to be allowed to carry weapons at recruitment centers.
"It seems to me that if you have military bases or recruiting offices, these are symbols of American might, they're targets," Bush, the former Florida governor, said after a town hall-style meeting in Carson City, Nevada.
"This is how you garner attention," he added. "You go to places where there's vulnerability, and it's a very powerful symbolic attack on our country."
In Iowa, Walker, who is Wisconsin's governor, said: "With ISIS now and the threats that we have not only abroad, but domestically, when our military in particular is potentially a target, we need to make sure that in places like this, a recruiting facility, they're able to be armed so our heroes are protected."
After the shootings at the two centers on Thursday, candidate Donald Trump took to Twitter to call for an end to "gun-free zones" on military facilities.
Trump said the Marines who were killed by Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Yemen who was killed by police at the second shooting site, "never had a chance."
Authorities said Friday that they believed Abdulazeez visited Jordan
last year and possibly Yemen. He is believed to have traveled to the Middle East, where his family has roots, between April and November 2014.
King told CNN that Abdulazeez spent time in Jordan "has to raise alarm bells now. That is why the FBI is putting a full-court press on this."
While the congressman wasn't ready to tie the shootings directly to the Islamic State, he told Blitzer that they "certainly" have been "inspired by the whole world of Islamic terrorism.
"We've been hearing for months about the need for ISIS and others to attack law enforcement, to attack the military. There's been repeated calls coming over the Internet through social media. He got the idea from someone."
"Since it follows the pattern of attacking the military, to me, it's almost semantics whether he was actually inspired by ISIS or whether he was just inspired generally because of Islamic jihadism," King said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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