PENSACOLA, Fla. (WALA)-- In the moments following the attack on NAS Pensacola Friday morning, just miles away American Legion post 240 quickly became a safe haven for people evacuating.
Robert Farley, Sons of the American Legion Commander at the largest post in the Panhandle, says several people from the base sought the post for shelter.
In the day following the shooting Farley has heard several accounts from people who were there.
He says one of their chiefs was on base when the shooting started, but he was helpless without a weapon.
“While he heard the shooting even though he was trained to be able to respond to that he was not in the capacity to be able to do so because he was in compliance with the laws on the base,” said Farley.
Farley hopes that is something that will be reviewed.
“They know it’s a gun free zone which is just a shooting gallery for someone who is mentally challenged in that capacity. So we really encourage our representatives, senators and President Trump to get this law changed… allow our service personnel to defend themselves.”
He says he is grateful for the Escambia County Deputies who risked their lives to stop the shooter, but he says that is something that also concerns him.
“I’m disturbed by the fact that our local county deputies had to respond to our military base when we’ve been a military base for 200 years. Why would our civilian deputies have to respond to that? I find that unsettling.”
For many, NAS Pensacola was the last place they’d expect such a horrific attack, but farley believes even some of the seemingly safest places in our nation can’t be overlooked.
“While tragically it happened here in our community, I can’t say that I was shocked that it would happen here as opposed to some place else. I would prefer that it not happen anywhere, as all of us would, but I certainly cannot consider us immune from everything that’s going on in the world.”
Farley says they are seeking donations to bring food to those stuck on base.