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Memorial outside Navy Yard in D.C. (courtesy

Department of Defense Directive 5210.66 is the regulation that disarms military personnel on military installations unless they’re directly involved with security. Deputy Secretary of Defense Donald J Atwood signed the document—“Carrying of Firearms by DoD Personnel”—-on March 17, 1992 during the administration of Bush the Elder. It’s remained in force ever since. Click here for the full document that disarmed United States military members and civilians on base. Here’s the relevant bit . . .

The authorization to carry firearms shall be issued only to qualified personnel when there is a reasonable expectation that life or DoD assets will be jeopardized if firearms are not carried. Evaluation of the necessity to carry a firearm shall be made considering this expectation weighed against the possible consequences of accidental or indiscriminate use of firearms.

Given the attack at Fort Hood and, now, the Washington Navy Yard, can we assume that there’s a reasonable expectation that life or DoD assets will be jeopardized if firearms are not carried?

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  1. Bush the First allowed this to be implemented. Clinton extended it with additonal regulations for the Army.

    • So is this (an existing phenomenon of military personnel having a tendency to shoot each other) why the directive was put in place?

  2. Who are the first responders in any situation again?

    (Hint: Notice the three or four private citizens attending to the victim on the ground while at least one military member stands waaaaay back doing nothing and another likely “official” person is too busy with some yellow tape to even care.)

  3. Can you imagine the outcome if it had been an attack on the Navy Yard like the recent attack in Kenya? Instead of 1 shooter, just add about 20 more, put them on every entrance and exit, and move to converge in the center, shooting everything you can. In the gun free environment a shotgun would be more than sufficient. This directive needs to be reversed. Good lord, but if the anti-gunners’ big attack on us is that we are insufficiently trained to intervene, the same cannot be said for the military.

    • Because there’s only a 10% chance that you’ll have sufficient training to survive, we’re going to implement laws that ensure you have 0% chance of survival.

      • Isn’t it such a pisser? During WWI one of the grandest American icons was a pit bull. Tough, loyal, scrappy, and intelligent. Now it’s the Running Man, as in if you want to live, run. Whatever happened to fight back? It’s like we’ve become a nation of abject p&ssies.

    • That’s what scares me. Reimagine the coordination that went in to place for the 9/11 attack but with 20 hijackers from different cities all converging, well armed, on any US mall going on a shooting spree. If all these twenty were bent on a ‘fight to the death/suicide attack end’ it could be worse than the Kenya attack. Yes, if there were a few concealed carriers in the crowd a few of the 20 might be picked off but there will be no John McClain type heroes. Another large scale domestic attack like 9/11 on a mall, school, or some such large gathering would be aweful.

      • doesn’t matter. it would still be another push for universal background checks, because the assumption will always be that these people simply walked into a gun store and walked out with an evil black rifle, without even saying “hello” to the guy behind the counter.

        and if it turns out that they WERE squeaky-clean and legally able to buy guns, then it will once again be all about weapons-of-war and some such being available for terrorists to buy, claiming that the NRA is all about arming terrorists.

        see, as long as gun-grabbers are in control of the media narrative, we will continue to have to fight this fight. they simply will not admit that mental illness, gang crime, and terrorism are things that exist and must be dealt with separately. they failed to grasp the concept of cause and effect, and may never get the hang of it.

      • a few CC’rs in the mix might not stop the assault but they might ensure that more are able to flee the disaster.

      • not all the 9/11 hijackers knew it was a suicide mission. only the pilots knew. the muscle thought the same thing as nearly everyone else that they were going to fly to beiruit or something.

    • Unfortunately, I think an attack like in Kenya may well be coming to a mall, school or sports event near you. A couple of coordinated attacks in the heartland would truly invoke terror, when the average citizen no longer feels safe in their normal daily routine.

      God forbid it happens. If it does, let’s hope the pu$$1es in the regime have the cajones to respond appropriately.

      • An attack like the one in Kenya is coming to a mall in the US.

        Call Morty and make book on it. It’s the new, low-rent, low-training, low-trace tactic by AQ franchise groups.

        And unlike a bombing, they can sort out the Muslims from the unbelievers, which makes it more compliant with Sharia.

    • Yes! How long before some of those Somalia refugess that they are calling U.S. citizens figure this crap out? They need to revoke the refuge status and citizenship and give them the boot. I thought the Boston brothers (and their friends) made this obvious.

      • Or maybe actually enforce existing immigration laws? I’ll bet that would result in a 25% or more reduction in public assistance in the following six months.

  4. Been plenty of other on post shootings as well. In the five years I have been at Ft Bliss there have been more on post shootings than off post in El Paso.

    • I remember one when I was stationed there and some joe(ette)’s husband walked into the PX at noon on a Saturday and blew her brains out. Then he went to the back of the store and swallowed one himself. Military bases have the same problems any city or town has. Heck, I’ve seen joes get taken down for running meth labs in the barracks and base housing.

    • Was stationed at Holloman. Been to Bliss. You could also argue though that a good portion of shootings occur in base housing areas and that they are, in some cases, not restricted by perimeter fencing. Had a buddy who lived in Bliss housing. We never crossed a single gate getting to his house.

      • Yep. I lived in Logan Heights when I was there. No gate, no nothing. Some punks tried kicking in my front door while I was deployed and the stupid DoD pig that showed up told her it was all in her head, despite the fact that they had also ripped the screens off the windows trying to get in through my new babies window. Then they had to leave because of a call for the same thing two streets down…

    • We had one here at Fort Knox a few months ago. A cuckolded husband Joe administered some .45cal retribution on his wife’s DA civilian boyfriend in a parking lot. No sign, policy, or random security measure stopped him once he made up his mind.

      I’m retired military with every full privileged use of facilities on post. I only go about once per month to restock my cheap beer since it’s such a bother to go home and dress down first.

  5. The date on the document is 2/25/92. However, it doesn’t matter which administration was in power when it was written and which one was in power when it was enforced, then and since – it’s a stupid rule.

  6. So the anti-gunners argue that only the military should have guns. Should they not be the first people who are arguing for the repeal of this Directive to show they are standing behind their own words? I think this is something we need to start hammering every anti-gunner on. If they say the military should have guns make them work to change this or force them to admit they don’t think the military should have guns and own up to the real agenda.

  7. The order to repeal the directive, like its initial implementation, would likely come from the President upon advice of the JCS. Given those men, all of them – are political appointees, it’s unlikely we’ll see a redress on this issue. Remember kids, merit and good work makes the rank of colonel, a politician makes the rank of general.

  8. I was in the Navy from 1999 to 2007, served on both coasts, and saw all kinds criminal activity involving firearms.

    I had a buddy who got into an argument with some guys (gang members that also happened to be marines) at the base club on 32nd Street Naval Station in San Diego. One of the gang members flashed a handgun at him in the parking lot and said they would take him out, along with his friends. We departed “The Metro” (the base club there) and I went to a girlfriends house while they went to Del Taco. They followed him to Del Taco and shot him to death, wounding two others.

    I was witness to a robbery with a hand gun outside the restricted barracks in Damneck VA.

    At Naval Training Center Great Lakes I watched a kid get car jacked at gun point in the NEX parking lot.

    In Damneck I watched a guy fall down a stair way after getting stabbed in the chest multiple times by a couple Navy guys who were also gang members.

    One of my shipmates on the Constellation bought a shotgun out in town and had it sent to himself while we were deployed. He kept it in his locker…..On an aircraft carrier….He was busted for drug use.

    Guns are on base. The gang members, terrorists and criminals have them….and have had them forever.

    • Guys that are loyal to a gang and in the Navy or Marines should be given a choice, the Gang or the Navy/Marines. If they still show gang ties, nail their asses with a general or dishonorable discharge depending on the situation.

      • That would be nice, but it doesn’t happen. Guys joined the military to gain experience with firearms, and to take that training back to there gangs. I have a sneaking suspicion that still happens today.

        • In my time judges would tell a defendant found guilty in court that if he could get a recruiter to accept him the conviction would go away. Recruiters used to hang out at the court houses. I served with one that was convicted of GTA and given that choice.

        • What JVM said is true. I was in the Army from ’96-’00 and I had a friend who had theft charges dropped only when he enlisted.

          I did see former gang bangers who were reformed by the Army. Perhaps they just needed discipline that they never had at home. They became good soldiers and productive civilians afterwards. I’m guessing judges know this is possible and think it is worth a shot.

  9. can we assume that there’s a reasonable expectation that life or DoD assets will be jeopardized if firearms are not carried?

    Why? Just because we’re at war and there have been two mass killings on military bases in the US are insufficient reasons to undo a common sense policy that’s working so well to keep our children safe and weapons of war off the streets and please Lord Bloomberg.

    Did leave out any of the cliches?

    It’s up to the military to fix its own problems. If it continues to show no regard for its personnel, the military will find itself without sufficient cannon fodder soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen. Civilian contractors, on the other hand, can always be recruited to die so that corporate management can receive its annual bonuses.

  10. I was stationed at MCAS El Toro in when Desert Shield began in 1990. They began doing random searches of cars, about one in ten cars or more, that were entering the base. Eventually the base commander sent out a memo to all commands that keeping concealed pistols within reach in the car was technically against the law in California and they haven’t done anything about it yet because nearly 100% of the cars had pistols, so could the commanders please ask their Marines to stop carrying pistols in their cars?

    At the same time, when we were getting ready to go overseas in the first days after Kuwait was invaded, we kept getting our deployment pushed back. Instead of burdening the armory our commanding officer told the officers to just take their pistols home at night. So I carried my pistol concealed in my waist band for several days in Orange County. I don’t think that would happen today.

  11. Riiight…Stupid piece of paper isnt gonna stop someone from carrying a gun on post if they wanted.

    Didnt stop Hassan at Ft. Hood; or from the PO’d soldier from shooting his company commander(personal weapon); or from the soldier that committed suicide on a nearby post(personal weapon)…

  12. You know what I find interesting when i was active duty i couldn’t carry on post but when i went guard ( long story) every drill there were at least 6 of us that carried concealed in the drill hall and on the local training grounds also we were never harassed our command knew they didn’t care

  13. My reading of the document shows :

    Reference: (b) DoD Directive 5210.66, “Carrying of Firearms by DoD Personnel,” March 17, 1986 (hereby canceled)

    So it goes back to (at least) before Regan.

    My Naval career spans from 1972-1993 and I can not recall a time where carrying weapons on base was allowed. I was an aircrewman and although my survival vest had a pocket for a handgun, we were not allowed to carry (peacetime ya know.)

    Kind of a moot point about CCW on base anyway, as at that time CCW was not a possibility off-base, especially (still) in California. I can still remember the Force Master Chief ranting about how gate guards at at NS San Diego were getting tired of catching sailors coming through the gate with weapons in their cars. (“Well, gee Master Chief, if your sailors didn’t have to live in crap holes in the bad parts of town, maybe they wouldn’t NEED weapons to get to work.”)

    Doesn’t matter which President instigated the policy, it stinks. Trusted with crypto keylists and other Top Secret information, trusted with and around nukes, trusted with taking a $30 million dollar airplane, fifteen people and two nukes over the horizon, run all over the state and most of the country armed, but can’t be trusted with a .38 on base. Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

  14. This needs to be repealed immediately. Attacks like what is alleged to have happened at Fort Hood and the DC Navy Yard are totally preventable.

    When my father was in Vietnam serving in the US Navy there was an incident while he was out for ambush on his River Assault Boat. When they returned from their mission everyone back at base was shaken up – A very young boy either indoctrinated by Charlie had gained access and started chucking hand grenades. He fragged several sailors before someone had the presence of mind to draw their .45 and shoot that little boy in his head.

    I don’t think it gets much uglier than that, my father only saw the aftermath and he cried when he told me about it. But what is worse is the narrative coming from Ft.Hood and the Navy Yard, a narrative that tells us our troops and their support staff amounted to little more than moving targets. These are MILITARY FACILITIES, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!

    A soldier who is not armed is not a soldier at all, but a target for cowards and psychopaths trying to make a political statement against the government they represent. Security only goes so far, but trained individuals, practically all of whom have guns provide a safety net.

    They tell us we are fighting a GLOBAL War on Terrorism… maybe DoD should act like it. There is no good reason someone deemed responsible enough to handle a military issue weapon should not be carrying it on duty, or even off.

    Mind you I am not advocating a police state in any way, shape or form. I think the DoD should take the concept of citizen-soldier seriously and allow our troops to act like Americans instead of disarming men and women who took a binding oath to protect this nation.

  15. At a minimum, NCOs with no record of disciplinary actions should be required to carry a sidearm on base and all to carry that same pistol off base wherever local law allows. (Setting aside for now that EVERY local law is a violation of the Second Amendment.) Officers should be allowed to carry at their own discretion and under the same local law provisions.

    The answer to the rogue shooter on base is then the same as the answer should be off base: If one person goes rogue and starts shooting in a gun free zone there will be a massacre. If that same person goes rogue and a significant number of people around him are also armed the incident will be noisy, but brief. Same goes for random criminal (gang-related or otherwise) acts on or near the base.

    The answer, as always, is a good guy with a gun.

  16. I had an issue with this in the Marine Corps during 1994-2001. We spent a whole lot of time carrying unloaded rifles and blanks, and would have been truly buggered if we were attacked by anyone with real ammo.

    Today, a guard with a 9mm handgun is the only thing that protects most bases. And those bases are gun free zones. I don’t see any reason why a single mass shooter or group of terrorists would be deterred by such an inviting target.

    What we have here is a failure of Gun Free Zones to protect the prisoners therein. Sad.

    • After the Beirut barracks bombing, Commandant Al Gray issued an order that no Marine was to ever stand a post with a weapon that was not loaded, except for the M1911, which had to have a full magazine inserted but not allowed to have a round in the chamber. When I came back in the Marines in 2004, it was clear that this order is no longer in effect. Sadly.

  17. Recently retired from Air Force Security Forces. Before everyone’s panties get in a bunch, lemme state emphatically that there are some people, even in the military, that I wouldn’t want packing heat! Plus, even though we trained the same as any other PD in the nation(a mil member cannot carry concealed on base, but firearms are allowed in base housing) when it came to traffic stops and contacts involving weapons, I don’t think it’s a good idea to start letting Sgt John Q. Publique pack a .44 S&W 629 or Taurus Judge to work. If they are performing a military function they are legally acting within the legal scope and auspices of the US military and to get in an altercation regarding a privately owned firearm would call into question military weapon qualification.
    Laymen’s terms, if they are in uniform and carrying a gun, they have to be qualified by the military on that gun. In wartime this would fall under using personal weapons not qualified under the Hague accords.
    Since everyone is so keen on calling this what it is, the war on terror, then the Hague accords definitely apply!
    I think the best solution is obvious. Arm specific personnel in performance of duties. Leadership should be armed and ready to respond to threats.
    “shall be issued only to qualified personnel when there is a reasonable expectation that life or DoD assets will be jeopardized if firearms are not carried”.
    There are qualified individuals even at Flight/Company level. SNCOs can be armed and extra security posted to areas like the Fort Hood mobilization area. Re designate all facilities that contain workspaces and rotate a “door guard” to check visitors and individuals not assigned to the building.
    It’s not really hard!
    But many are advocating letting Amn/Pvt/S Cletus or Loc Dog to carry around their privately owned firearms?!
    THAT is a bigger security risk than a lone mentally disturbed gunman!

    • I had been an SP as well. I could not imagine having off-duty airmen (18 to 21 years old) carrying firearms into the airmen’s dorms during the usual evening jungle juice parties. It was bad enough with airmen playing with knives after 8 shots of tequila. For NCOs and senior officers, with the appropriate training, I cannot see the hang up. Of course, I said appropriate training. Personally, I think that simple military qualification is not enough. They need to be taught when to use and not use deadly force during peace time on a military base, which is almost always different than that off base. On another note, at least when I was in the service, SPs almost always had a base fire team on any base with priority resources. Many times, we has a full 15 in 5 devoted to the base, which means 15 heavily armed SPs with a 5 minute response time limit..and most of the time, the Alarm Response Teams were onsite in less than 2 minutes. And, if the 15 in 5 needed backup, that backup was just minutes away. Usually, there were armories in the SP dorms on every base, so on the bases I worked, we could have hundreds of SPs armed in a matter of minutes depending on the threat. It was always impressive to see how fast a large SP group could arm up.

  18. Rather than reading five introductory lines and then “Here’s the relevant bit . . .” and having to click to read the relevant part, I’d rather it be right up front. Let’s keep it clear and simple, IMO.

  19. Police can be armed and carry firearms at Police Stations, but our Military cannot be armed on Military Bases.

    Something doesn’t make sense here!

  20. Armed marines at the Washington navy yard were directed to not intervene. I’m still waiting to here why someone thought that was a good idea.

    • Apparently because the marines had no ammo. Now you might ask why they had no ammo, but you’ll just get ass-covering lies from the perfumed princes the Golfer has appointed.

  21. If we trust these volunteers to defend our nation, shouldn’t we trust and allow them to defend themselves? Would this Hassan, work-place terrorist have dared to attempt that attack in a roomful of armed soldiers? Who knows with these fanatics,…but he damn sure would have met Allah 5 seconds after his first shot. Unlawful gun use has no boundaries. Only lawful gun use can minimize or negate unlawful gun use. As it has always been with weapons, since man first used a rock as a weapon. Criminalizing the lawful is never the answer. Not when it’s rocks, sticks, swords or guns.

  22. Um, excuse me, you’re talking about the wrong Directive. You seem to have 5210.66 confused with 5210.56 (to which you have a link). In addition to referring to the wrong Directive, you seem to overlook the 1969 Directive 5210.56 which the Bush-era Directive cancels.

    The ban on active military carrying weapons during peace time goes back to the 19th century. The purpose was to prevent an armed coup. That’s why the National Guard (militia) responds to emergency situations; it’s why Seabees cannot perform construction work in the US. Directive 5210.56 actually ALLOWS weapons by certain military personnel; it doesn’t ban anything… they were already banned.

    Nice rabble rousing, but factually incorrect.

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