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There are two groups of people that have a very great deal in common, yet few would think to compare them. Both groups walk about with targets on their backs, yet both are denied their Second Amendment right to protect their very lives. Domestic and international terrorists have targeted both groups in recent years, and some members of both groups have been killed. When they’ve died, the mainstream media have almost universally proclaimed the solution to be more gun control, bigger government and more taxpayer funds spent. Intelligence has been developed and continues to be developed clearly indicating that the targets on their backs are growing larger and more numerous every day; terrorists are anxious to attack what they rightly see as soft targets . . .

These groups, many of whom would bristle at the suggestion they are victims, are our public school teachers and students, and our servicemen and -women and their dependents. What better targets to hit to demonstrate to the world that America can’t even protect her own?

Many Americans are under the mistaken impression that military bases are heavily fortified and that soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are armed while on duty. Sadly, this hasn’t been true or even  possible for decades, which made the Fort Hood attack, the Navy Yard attack, and many others, including attacks of recruiting offices, possible. Schools, for the most part, remain even less protected.

During my time as an Air Force security policeman in the early ’70s, the only people under arms while on duty were the security police, and active aircrews flying Cold War duty. On and around enormous Air Force bases, the security police at entrance gates carried .38 caliber revolvers, and the security police guarding aircraft and missile facilities carried M-16 rifles. Apart from them, there was essentially no one able to stop an active shooter. I drew my issued handgun from an armory just before going on duty and turned it in, along with every round of lead, round-nosed ammunition, before going off duty. Virtually no one else was authorized to carry arms while on base.

The same is true today of virtually all military facilities. There are, to be sure, exceptions for highly secure facilities on and off larger military installations, but terrorists planning an attack on almost all military bases can be virtually certain that there will be few able to resist them, and they’ll know who and where they are likely to be. As is the case everywhere, when seconds matter, the military police are minutes away. That state of affairs cost many lives at Ft. Hood.

The dependents of service members are likewise unable to carry their personal weapons on base/post, and they have additional problems. While active duty service members may purchase firearms as residents throughout the country, the same is not universally true for their dependents who must first establish residency according to the varying laws of the states.

Who is responsible for making our service members and their families so vulnerable? Common wisdom has it that President Bill Clinton is the culprit, and considering his well-known hatred for the military (see this book by Lt. Col. Buzz Patterson who carried the nuclear football in the Clinton White House), it seems more than logical to believe that, but it is apparently not so. The Blaze notes: 

“It appears DoD Directive 5210.56 was reissued in April 2011 by Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III.

Some outlets are citing Army Regulation 190-14, a policy implemented in 1993 that changed policy regarding carrying firearms on the Army’s military bases, to cast blame on Clinton.

However, that policy specifically notes part of its purpose is aimed at implementing ‘applicable portions of Department of Defense Directive 5210.56,’ which, as previously stated, was put into effect by Bush Sr.’s deputy secretary of defense.’

Steven Bucci, a military expert for The Heritage Foundation who served 28 years in the Army and retired in 2005 with the rank of colonel, also told TheBlaze Tuesday afternoon that Clinton is not to blame.

‘I think you are barking up the wrong tree if you are looking to put blame on someone for disarming the military,’ said Bucci, when asked if Clinton was responsible. ‘I think that’s kind of a bogus story.’

‘We have never had our soldiers walking around with weapons all the time, other than in combat zones,’ he added, noting only Military Police have had that authority.”

There are indications the original ban was issued in 1969 under President Nixon, and the ban, or at least policy in the various services amounting to the same thing, was certainly in effect in the early 70s when I was in the Air Force. Even absent specific military law or regulation, the military has always been very cautious about controlling the carrying of firearms outside of active war zones. Considering the small amount of training given to many members of the military, there are not unreasonable arguments for this. During my days in the USAF, virtually the only people that received regular training and were regularly required to qualify with small arms were the Security Police. Everyone else shot the M-16 briefly during basic training, and probably never again. The Army and Marines, of course, require much more familiarity with arms.

However, times have changed and the threat of active terrorist shooters, not only targeting military installations, but the families of service members, at their homes and elsewhere, is real and ever-increasing, particularly under an administration determined to throw open America’s borders. Even so, home grown terrorists, the so-called “lone wolf” and “known wolf” shooters, are also a burgeoning threat. Fox News reports on efforts to address that vulnerability: 

“Military spouses could be able to purchase a handgun in any state without first becoming a resident if recently proposed legislation is passed into law.

Under current federal law, active duty service members can purchase handguns in any state without proving they are state residents. But that law does not extend to their spouses, who must first establish state residency before making a firearm purchase.

The legislation, offered by Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va., would change that. His proposed rules would put active duty service members and their spouses on equal footing when purchasing a firearm.

Rigell drafted the legislation in response to Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) threats targeted at military spouses and family members, he said.

‘Considering the threats we face from Islamic extremists, foreign and domestic, and lone wolves, it is prudent that our military families have the tools they need to protect their loved ones,’ Rigell said in a statement. ‘Spouses should be able to purchase handguns in the state where their husband or wife is stationed. They have the right to protect themselves, and this bill allows them to fully exercise their second amendment right.”

Terrorists are becoming far more adept at using cyberspace, not only to identify and locate military members and their families, but to recruit and encourage domestic sympathizers to take the path of Jihad.

“Service members and military spouses have been the target this year of online threats made by groups claiming to be affiliated with ISIS. In March, the names, addresses and photos of 100 service members were posted online as a ‘wanted’ list. In February a group calling themselves the ‘Cyber Caliphate’ hacked the Twitter and Facebook accounts of a military spouse and sent threatening messages to a handful of others.”

The plain language of the Second Amendment, particularly “…shall not be infringed,” is clear enough, however, it is a well-established principle of law that those serving in the military may be denied certain rights that others take for granted in the interests of maintaining military order and discipline. Allowing every service member–including new recruits in training–to be armed at all times may not be possible or wise, however, short of that, there are a great many other possibilities that would not only change our military installations from soft to forbidding targets, but which would deter attacks, and when they occur, would make possible stopping the attackers with minimal injury or loss of life.

At the very least, military dependents should be granted automatic residency, and they and their service members should be allowed to carry their weapons–preferably concealed–to and from their duty station and lock them in their vehicles while on duty.

Obviously, security and safety are major concerns at any military installation, but what good are regulations addressing those concerns if they make servicemen and women such attractive targets that they lose their lives to terrorists?

It is past time to address these issues. Our military members and their dependents deserve no less right to protect their lives than the average citizen with a concealed carry license, or the citizens of states that recognize constitutional carry. The same is true for teachers and the children for whose safety they are responsible.

Mike’s Home blog is Stately McDaniel Manor.

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  1. The bass of the problem is inferior quality of .mil training, special operations units excluded. Commanders are justifiably concerned about negligent dicharges and “IGOT” situations-as that’s the predictable consequence when teenagers are handed weapons with substandard training.
    Fix the training, and we fix the regulations.

    • “Poor training” is a pretty lame excuse, though. We fly $50 million dollar aircraft, drive aircraft carriers, heavy armor vehicles & billion call or submarines. Yet somehow, we can’t competently handle small arms?

      • The military can barely do those things competently. And the majority of the military, including the combat arms, are absolutely atrocious with weapons.

        • You’re an idiot. You don’t have a clue what you are talking about. Do you think, yeah I’m giving you credit, probably shouldn’t, for one second that a 19 year old kid can’t service a fighter and keep it in the air? Yeah moron I served and most of the planes were maintained by airmen under the age of 24. As for firearms, I qualified expert but being stationed in Kommieforniastan had no real need to keep my skills up.

          The MORON posting below had best realize that it’s not officers that are keeping that expensive jet in the air. It’s someone who has spend a lot of months training then more time under a NCO to keep that bird up. So basically screw both of you.

        • MX troops always say that their high school diploma fixes what college degrees break.

        • 13 years as a 2W171, 3 tours in Iraq, 1 in Afghanistan, air campaigns in Libya, Syria, And Yemen, nevermind I was a deputy sheriff before I joined. But tell me how inept I am and instruct me properly on weapon manulipation and usage….as long as it’s OK with your mother….and she needs to sign a note to excuse you from class.

      • I think you’re forgetting that Private Snuffy is an 18 year old dumbass. I’ve seen privates and airmen playing quick draw in the hallway. The fact is that the training – and reinforcement of said training – for the average troop is basically 1 trip to the range to shoot 80 rounds every year. There is little to no training on the safety skills required to carry a weapon around all the time. Even in war zones after months of living with weapons I’ve seen guys mishandle guns and quite frankly I’m surprised there weren’t more ADs than there were.

        Yeah, we fly expensive airplanes, but its not an airman flying them. Its an officer pilot who has been extensively trained for over a year just to get in the seat. The guy driving the aircraft carrier around? He didn’t just wake up one morning and get handed the keys. It took months, if not years, for the guy to get behind the wheel.

        Small arms training is an also ran, really has been that way since before WW1.

        • Then that officer goes “why doesn’t this work in the ‘official’ position?” and the enlisted man tells him “that would be the ‘off’ switch, sir.”

          Maintainers know more about those multimillion dollar systems than the drivers do.

          A lot of the time, Pvt. Snuffy will have a degree by his 6th year in. The “class” division between enlisted and commissioned is just an archaic holdover from the “noble high born” school of thought, that really needs to be restructured. But, it’s easier to just think of the grunts we send into the meatgrinder as just “knuckle-dragging morons”. It makes getting them killed a lot easier to digest.

        • If an LT in the Marines didn’t consider his Sergeant the guy that really knows the ropes he wouldn’t last long in combat. Vietnam in particular.

        • So what’s the difference between Pvt Snuffy and Joe Blow civvie? Both are dumbasses, but one has more rights than the other.

        • So why not just arm officers? From what I remember officers were the only ones issued a 45.

    • For concealed carry, it wouldn’t be that big of an issue. In the early 2000s, if you wanted to ride a motorcycle on base (or any other DOD property) as active duty Air Force, you had to complete an authorized safety course, with road test, separate from any other classes/tests you took to have your civilian motorcycle license (in states where that applies). Then you had to attend regular “high risk behavior” briefings, I believe they were bi-monthly for a while at my base (don’t remember for certain, I didn’t ride). This was all on your own time, and your own expense where applicable (apparently that road test left you needing new tires).

      It would not be hard or costly to implement concealed carry classes, as well as throw a token firearm safety paragraph into the risk briefings. Hell, they even did that last part at my base during hunting season.

    • But… you think their friends back home should have the right to carry? Or are you saying they shouldn’t carry either?

  2. I’m kind of surprised to see this group of people talk about the training and abilities of military personnel to carry personal firearms. Yes… I agree that the general firearms training the military gets is pretty sad… but that’s generally more than the civilian population gets through their jobs. Civilians choose to go get training and to carry a pistol… why would this be any different? Nobody is calling on the military to issue all these folks pistols. What part of “shall not be infringed” doesn’t apply here?

      • There’s nothing I’ve ever signed that said I gave up all of my rights. There are certain limitations due to my occupation (which is understandable), but I can still vote. I can still own a firearm. I can still protest out of uniform as long as I don’t indicate my affiliation. I have to follow the UCMJ, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have any rights. Since you can’t go into a post office with a firearm does that mean that you’ve also signed to give up your rights? Or is it a right that already exists that the government doesn’t honor?

        Even if you were correct in saying that military members “give up all of their rights”, does the rest of my statement not apply? Why even let military members carry at all – on or off base? I mean, their training is so terrible…

        • Yes the UCMJ dictates your life, as it does mine. Look up Article 88. You can(as a officer) be prosecuted for it, while in civilian clothes and even if you are not professing your affiliation(which the Supreme Court has upheld). How bout the ability to bar certain locations from you in your off time?

        • At age 18 I voluntarily took dangerous part in an unpopular war. I had essentially no adult counsel/advice. While deeply involved in that bit I slowly came to realize that I had, and would have for several more years, less freedom than the average hippy, and that I was making worse money than a janitor or clerk at a state university that offered tuition benefits to blue collar employees. Stunning. GI Bill? What a laugh.

          My son and I kicked the subject around and came to the conclusion that if a civilian can turn down a particular client, change skills on one’s own initiative, and carry defensive weapons in most states as one feels sufficient….while driving a hot car without any base commander’s /MP’s BS….why would a person join the military….short of an actual territorial invasion.

          The higher I rose in education, income, and social access, the more frequently I would hear the thoughts above expressed, though with the subtlety required of a sensitive topic. Briefly after 911 the enthusiasm overwhelmed the common sense, but that didn’t last long. “Don’t join unless you can resign” (i.e. only serve as an officer), and “do not take a military position unless you truly believe it will be an essential part of a prosperous career.”

          Cheney? Bush, G.W.? Clinton, B.? Hillary? Bill Gates? Warren Buffett? The proof is endless that the transition from the civil war class/draft arrangements to the digital age class arrangements…. is nearing completion. Who wants boots on the ground? Let them put their boots on the ground and pay for the show…and become liable for misadventures and out-year costs. But let our border and coasts be powerfully defended, rather than declaring open borders for unvetted hordes of economic migrants. Ah, the contrast!

          So much of achievement must occur when we are young (tech, finance, law, engineering): Throwing those years away to stabilize the oil or steel industry, or to achieve a better balance of power…without being very well paid to do so, to suit the whims of a globally connected financial family (Bush) or an aspiring neo-con’s Napoleon-like dreams…is foolish.

        • @Marc: What makes you thing a Post Office is not a Federal Facility? It is the 2nd oldest Federal agency in the country going back to the Continental Congress during The Revolution.

      • Seans, these are limitations to your rights, as I said before. The limitations mostly have to do with “good order and discipline”. Banning a certain night club or smoke shop has exactly to do with good order and discipline. It’s a limitation, not revocation. If a military member were to get arrested by the military or civilian side, they would still have the right to remain silent, to obtain a lawyer, for due process, etc. You do not lose your rights, you agree to certain limitations that have to do with readiness and good order/discipline.

        Officers are held to a certain standard due to their commission. They serve at the pleasure of the President. Of course they have rules about what they can say/do… Officers can always resign their commission, so how is that removing their rights? They’re simply agreeing to hold that certain standard while they are commissioned.

        This is getting off-topic though because none of it explains why a service member shouldn’t be able to concealed carry.

  3. The military brass seem to have a rather low opinion of the people subordinate to them, especially enlisted personnel who actually do the work. I don’t think that any generals give a rat’s hat if soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are killed in a “workplace incident” like Ft. Hood. All the big shots want is to put in their thirty and then get a job with a defense company — 80% of generals do exactly that. The little people? They’re just cannon fodder anyway.

    • Bullshit Ralph. I am a retired Navy Captain, and yes, I did give shit about my subordinates as did most, if not all of my peers.

      • Since I endorsed with a ‘yep’ I should note that I have observed senior officers that cared about their men (and now women). A particular sub commander comes to mind, and a number of army LTC/C’s during our war. But I encountered far more who showed little respect for the mass of their troops beyond the insincere endorsements. This translates, these days, into an equation, a requirement, that briefly says “keeping a weapon out of the hands of an intemperate corporal who might endanger me is much more important than enabling self-defense of the troops, even if the lives saved will be far greater if I take a risk with my own safety.”

        The older an officer gets and the more demanding his wife gets about status, and the more that officer sees the lifestyle of his corporate opposite number, the more selfish the officer seems to become. (Of course this phennomena applies to many industries and professions….)

      • Capt. beerwhisperer, good for you that you cared about your men. That’s the way an officer should feel IMO. And it may be why you didn’t make flag rank, cause those guys don’t care about anything.

        • A Captain in the Navy is a flag officer. It’s pay grade is O-6. That’s the same grade as Colonel in the Army, Air Force, and Marines.

  4. The real issue is federal property. When you’re on it, you’re under federal rules and laws just like in a Post Office. I don’t agree with the reasoning or constitutionality of it, just as I don’t believe our civil rights should stop at the entrance to any government property where we have a lawful right to be. It used not to be that way. How and when it started changing is a bit foggy. I suppose it came on little cat feet over a very long period of time. I do remember back in grade school in the 60s some of the other boys brought in their .22s and 410s for show-and-tell. Before that, in the 30s, rural kids often left their long guns in the schoolroom closet and took them home after school to bag any pot luck along the way. During that time period we even had a local resident dispatch an aggressor during the middle of a trial. The judge ruled it self-defense on the spot. Now that’s speedy justice. Most rural areas and smaller urban communities didn’t pay much attention to gun laws until the Gun Control Act of 1968. And that was mostly an outgrowth of civil unrest, the Vietnam War, and three major assassinations within five years (JFK, RFK, and MLK). A lot of states have since followed suit, trying to mimic or surpass the federal gun laws. It’s good to see many of those laws and public attitudes now changing for the better. It appears the feds just may be late to the dance this time around.

  5. At one time on Ft Hood in ’75 you could go to an indoor range and shoot Colt Huntsman,I believe, .22 cal pistol or a bolt action rifle of some sort, I always went with the pistol, being a tanker. Issued you a target and box of 25 rounds, free of charge, could shoot once a day if so inclined.

  6. I’m sorry but his article is more paranoid fear mongering. There’s a terrorist attack on a US base about every 3 years, so you’d better pack those anti-unicorn rounds too because you are in about as much danger from being trampled by a unicorn than you are being shot in a military installation by a terrorist. Furthermore, there would probably be an uptick in suicides if everyone had easy access to guns. Soldiers unfortunately have crazy high suicide rates and their favorite method by far is using a firearm. I see little upside and a moderate down side to allowing soldiers access to personal guns on base.

    • As posts and bases abide by local drinking age laws so should they abide by local jurisdiction CCW law. I get the proponents of AR670-1 (among others) would have an apoplectic fit over open carry but concealed means concealed. Control freaks gonna control, ain’t they?

    • The American government keeps importing Muslims. There will be a greater frequency of Islamic terrorist attacks in the future within the United States.

    • Soldier already can access their guns on base. I had four in my room when I was enlisted. Against the rules but my sgt didn’t care, he liked them. The two guys I knew who tried to commit suicide used blades, not guns.

      This is about CARRYING on base.

      You have no idea what you’re talking about, your argument is invalid.

        • Primary, which means if a firearm is unavailable other methods will be found.
          How nice of you to be so caring about others that you see fit to remove their possibly detrimental rights. Are you disarming first?

        • This is just anecdotal, but in my experience in the Army, all the Soldiers that I have known that had committed suicide did not use a firearm. One jumped off a roof of the barracks, another took pills. Despite all the PSAs, a person who decides to commit suicide doesn’t always makes it obvious either.

          As for the blanket statement that military suicides are higher than civilian counterparts, studies are conflicted about that. Because so many personnel enter and leave at any given time (and the issue on whether Guard or Reserve personnel committing suicide when they are not on duty or activated) numbers can fluctuate accordingly. Also, many servicemembers who are at risk with suicide were so even before joining the military, and if they decided to kill themselves after joining, how much of being in the military was the factor? Would they have committed suicide anyways even they didn’t join the military?

          Understandable, being in the military requires putting up with a little more dedication and self-imposed restrictions due to mission parameters. But to deny the right to bear arms because of possibility of suicides in the military is as stupid as using that very same reason to deny civilians 2a rights as well.

          • “. . . all the Soldiers that [ I ] have seen commit suicide did not use a firearm. One jumped off a roof of the barracks, another took pills.”

            This anecdotal remark suggests a fascinating line of inquiry. The DoD and VA must have a wealth of info surrounding active-duty and vet suicide including their status immediately preceding the suicide attempt and the means selected. How do these military suicides compare with the general population (or better still, neither military nor cop suicides)? Three possibilities:
            – military use guns less
            – military use guns more
            – not much difference.

            Suppose military suicides ALWAYS use guns. What might we infer from that? One conjecture would be that the military have knowledge of how to use a gun and where to get one. In a sense, they have the “knowledge of the tree of evil”. If this select group just lacked such knowledge, perhaps they wouldn’t figure-out a different way to commit suicide. If so, then depriving the maximum number of people of “the knowledge” might proportionately reduce total suicides.

            Conversely, suppose military suicides NEVER use guns. What might we infer from that? One conjecture would be that a suicidal person can always figure out an alternative to a gun to kill himself. Removing “the knowledge” won’t reduce the total number of suicides.

            We can’t – of course – expect the data to reveal either polar extreme. Likely, military suicides won’t be greatly different from the general population. The closer the military data is to that of the general population of suicides the greater the likelihood that one convenient and effective means doesn’t have a significant influence on the effectiveness of suicide. Any capable adult who wants to commit suicide will be pretty capable of finding an alternative to whatever most-continent-means is made less available.

            It seems clear to me that screening the population for propensity to commit suicide and making available appropriate psychiatric care ought to be the most effective use of public health resources.

        • Another thing to note, just because a military base bans personally owned loaded weapons without Commander’s permission, doesn’t mean Soldiers are going to abide by that rule either. I knew a Soldier who kept a 1911 in his barracks room (until he got busted during a room inspection) and another that keeps his firearms in his on-base house.

        • You still missed the point where the soldiers STILL own the firearms. This debate is about CARRYING the firearms. Try to keep up.

    • Unicorns come around every 3 years or so? Cool. I have never met ir seen or corresponded with anyone who has seen one.
      As to base terror events, I know they exist. So infinite odds does not compare well with definjte possibility, howevrr slight.
      Suicide and/ or other problems associated with extending gun rights to soldiers is the price of freedom. Even that would likely spike, then settle as the ability to be armed normalized.
      It is too easy to rationalize away the rights of others. This time it’s “for the servicemen!”?

      • Reading comprehension and interpreting humor are clearly not your strong points:

        “There’s a terrorist attack on a US base about every 3 years, so you’d better pack those anti-unicorn rounds too because you are in about as much danger from being trampled by a unicorn than you are being shot in a military installation by a terrorist.”

        key part “about as much” chance of unicorn stomping = 0, chance of being shot by a terrorist on a US military base 1:10,000,000 or so a number really close to zero.

        People’s ability to accurately perceive risk is ridiculously bad. You are literally thousands of times more likely to die in a traffic accident on base than being shot by a terrorist. People are looking for solutions to a virtually non-existent problem.

        • Zero and any number that is not zero are quite different. Especially when discussing mortality related issues.
          People win the lottery regularly against atrocious odds. They wouldn’t sell many tickets with zero chance to win.
          I comprehend quite well, you are just mad about being called on your BS.

    • Just so you know, military members are able to own firearms. The restriction is on being able to carry them while off duty or if your job doesn’t require them.

      Saying the suicide rate will go up if soldiers and spouses are allowed to carry doesn’t make sense. If they are that intent on doing so then the time it takes to go home to get their gun isn’t going to matter. That doesn’t even take into account all of the other ways a person could use to end their life.

  7. No love for the contractors and civilians that have to drive to the base, unarmed; work on base, unarmed; and drive home, unarmed? Can’t even keep a ‘truck gun’.

  8. I really do not have a problem with military people having access to firearms during duty and off duty. My Daughter is an engineering intern at a Navy base and I wish she could carry at the base as well. I have had friends and relatives who have been in the military. My own opinion is that if we cannot trust our own lower enlisted and officer personnel as well as civilian employees with guns, then why are we trusting them to help defend the nation?

    • why are we trusting them to help defend the nation?

      Because “defending the nation” is happening waaaaay over there. If they were really defending the nation, they’d be on the border, keeping it secure.

  9. “. . . lock them in their vehicles while on duty.” How would this stop a Ft. Hood shooting?

    A couple of Congresses ago a bill was introduced called the Safe Military Bases Act. It went nowhere. I take it the bill was introduced just to show good intentions when there was no commitment.

    As I read the bill I saw the fatal that the Democrats could easily use to stop the bill; i.e., it required the military to allow any service person to be permitted to carry at his personal discretion. In other words, no matter what the Commander of Ft. Hood wished, he could do nothing to stop Maj. Nidal Hasan from carrying! How dumb an idea is that? As soon as anyone pointed out this flaw the bill would have been laughed off the floor.

    At the time I wrote the sponsor and all of the co-sponsors pointing out this problem; and, the way to fix it. Congress could, instead, mandate that the commander of each base arm not less than 10% of the service personnel on his base in the first year after passage; 20% in the next year and so forth until at least 50% are armed.

    The Commander, in consultation with junior officers and non-coms, would decide who to arm and to rotate those who are armed at any one time. Those who were trusted would be armed; those who weren’t trusted would serve their careers never being ordered to be armed. Generally, no one would realize that a particular serviceman – e.g., Maj Hasan – had never been ordered to carry. Nor would a terrorist know whether there was/wasn’t an armed serviceman in any particular group of potential victims.

    No one would argue that more than half of the members of our “armed” forces are untrustworthy to be armed. Such an argument would appear implausible on its face.

    No one would argue that the DoD can’t afford to train at least half its personnel to safely carry and deploy handguns. If they can’t do that the entire premise of having them drive trucks and operate missiles would be cast in doubt.

    It’s absurd that under present circumstances no one in the DoD cares to look after the defense of personnel on bases.

    • Interesting concept however, this approach would create a two tiered status within the ranks. The “trusted” and everyone else. The trusted would have a much higher promotion selection and since it would not be performance related the non trusted would have a valid protest/lawsuit, Don’t see this standing the test of time.

      • Your response is perfectly illogical in-context. The chain-of-command orders each soldier to do (or not do) exactly what he is told and the subordinate is obliged to obey (assuming it’s a lawful order.)

        From time immemorial, servicemen have born arms on bases under orders from their superiors. That Joe Soldier at the gate is carrying a Beretta is because his immediate superior ordered HIM – and not his bunk-mate – to carry that day at that post. If Joe Soldier is an MP it is because his superior officer ordered him to be a part of that particular unit. He might have volunteered (i.e., expressed interest in being an MP vs KP) but that he was chosen to work in that unit was under a superior’s order.

        Let’s suppose that a mere 1% of servicemen are ordered to bear arms on-duty on-base. Change the numeric value from 1 to 2 or to 10 or to 50, at what juncture have we introduced “tiered status within the ranks”? At what stage have we distinguished between the ” ‘trusted’ and everyone else?” Is it the jump from 1 to 2? Or the jump from 1 to 10? Or, did it occur between 17 and 18?

        What cases can you find that a serviceman sued successfully because he didn’t get the duty assignment he wished for? What performance criteria played a role? E.g., suppose a soldier’s current assignment is that of an infantryman; and, that his marksmanship scores are nearly passible. However, he peals potatoes with outstanding efficiency. He wishes to be assigned KP duty where he is far better qualified than in his current assignment. Has he sued successfully to get out of infantry duty and achieved his career goal of working in the culinary arts?

        The one thing that has stood the test of time is that soldiers do what they are ordered to do; and, bear arms when told to do so and be dis-armed when told to do so has always been a part of officers’ prerogatives.

        Article I Section 8 empowers Congress: “To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;”. If Congress adopts a law mandating base commanders to make rules regulating a minimum percentage of the armed forces to be armed on base I can’t imagine any court regarding any argument whatsoever to trump that Congressional power. Even if 100% of the servicemen on a base were Quakers conscientiously scrupulous about bearing arms, a court would refrain from allowing the 1A from trumping Section 8.

  10. 21 years active duty and 9 years as a DoD civilian. The point of this article is spot on. This is popular discussion at the office. Many agree military reservations would be significantly safer if CC were enacted by senior military and political leadership. For active duty, especially the younger officer and enlisted ranks, understand the concerns from a Commanders perspective however, specific and enforced regulations would address those concerns. Current restrictions and regulations prevent any personal weapons aboard a military reservation unless you are traveling to or from the Privately Owned Weapons Range. This prevents those with a CCL from carrying to or from work or when departing the post during the day, leaving you unable to respond to a threat. When you enter a military reservation you open yourself up to unannounced inspection of your vehicle and person, so the “concealed is concealed” approach is high risk. If caught you will lose your weapon, CCL and face charges/stiff fines. Unfortunately the current political environment seems to be headed down a more restrictive path vice permissive path.

  11. What good is the ability to purchase firearms if military personnel and their spouses cannot bear those firearms?!?!?!?

  12. I think it should be at least voluntary for those who wish to carry while on duty, but I also think those who do should pass a qualification test with theory (ie: what is the difference between cover and concealment, as well as the questions used for a civilian firearms safety test), and standardized practical test with shoot and no-shoot targets.

    I know the management and day-to-day operations of the Australian Army’s logistics center at Holsworthy is done by civilian contractors who have a very high percentage of “Middle-Eastern-Appearance” employees. No audit has ever been done because (1) they are afraid of how much inventory cannot be accounted for, and (2) it would appear to be racist against the employees.

  13. If safety is such a concern as far as N.D.s go, how about only allowing officers and senior NCOs to carry?

  14. From 1968 to 1972, the high school I attended had a rifle team. We competed in the Western Ohio Junior Rifle League. Many of our matches were held at Wright-Patterson Airforce base. Indoors, using 22lr target guns like the Winchester 52d and small steel bullet traps. There was never an issue with safety. The guards at the gate never even wanted to look at our rifles, they just waved us thru.

    Can you imagine one hundred to one hundred and fifty, 14 to 18 year olds with rifles showing up at a military base today?

  15. At the last unit I belonged to, the CO was hugely against junior enlisted soldiers & NCOs having privately-owned firearms… he was truly a full-fledged anti-gun POS. When I reported for in-processing, one of the first things I did was fill out the required provost-marshal firearm registration for keeping one on-post (I was married, and didn’t live in the barracks). Upon arriving at the company S2, I was told that anyone E-5 and below had to turn in their POFs to the arms-room and absolutely could not keep them in housing, even if we lived off-post.
    The unit SOP for drawing a privately-owned firearm from the arms-room was purposely written to make actually doing so nearly impossible. First, a written request had to be passed up through the chain-of-command, all the way to the CO; the arms-room NCOIC had to be present and also had to approve the request; a POF could not be drawn before Fridays at 1700/COB, and the firearm could not be withdrawn for more than 24hrs under any circumstances. For those of you here with military experience, just trying to get an NCO to stick around in the arms-room after COB on Fridays is a near impossibility.

    Even more ridiculous and what finally forced me to resort to making an IG complaint, was before any of that could happen the CO required a psych-eval; not just once, but every time a soldier wanted to shoot their POF.
    Before IG finally ruled that our unit/CO’s privately-owned firearm SOP was contrary to Army regs, my Arsenal SLR-95 was locked up for almost two years. And when my battalion Sgt. Maj. finally heard about it, he walked me down to the arms-room, ordered the NCO to return my rifle, and made sure that I had a way to secure it in my post housing (I had a nice safe which sat empty throughout it all.
    After that, junior enlisted/NCOs in my unit never had to do anything beyond Army/Post regs to keep firearms in housing….. and the CO proceeded to make my remaining time there miserable for ending his personal crusade against privately-owned firearms.
    That someone like him was allowed to command troops is beyond me, as he blatantly defied regulations, denied us our 2nd Amendment rights…. and unfortunately there are many more like him.

    • Because I can already purchase firearms in any state I happen to be stationed in. This isn’t about purchasing it’s about the right to carry.

      • GENERALLY, a serviceman could buy a suitable gun in the State where he is posted and then transfer (by loan or gift) to his spouse. HOWEVER, a particular State’s laws – especially on handguns – may render this impracticable. E.g., I doubt that it would be legal in NJ. The spouse would have to secure an FOID in NJ first and then the transfer would have to take place at an FFL. By the time she obtained her NJ FOID the serviceman might be transferred yet-again. This applies in-the-home. I.e., if an intruder broke down the door the spouse wouldn’t legally be able to open her husband’s gun safe to retrieve his gun (without resort to a defense of the lesser evil).

        Of greater concern are the restrictions of the Won’t-Issue States. Assume, for the moment, that the spouse was promptly issued her NJ FOID and her permit to buy a pistol. Her husband transfers the gun to her. Now, she is perfectly at liberty to keep her gun at home and to drive with it directly to/from a gun range without unnecessary deviations. However, she still could never get a NJ carry permit. Nor could her serviceman husband get a NJ carry permit (absent some unusual circumstances such as – perhaps – he lives off-base and is an armed MP.)

        The major problem – I think – is Right-to-Carry in general; a minor problem is Right-to-Acquire.

  16. Not every Soldier needs to be armed. Just enough to make a bad guy go else where. The Army is extremely anti gun. Firearm registry is enforced, if you live on post. As a Battery Commander, I asked my Battalion Command if I could train and certify my Soldiers to conceal carry while on duty. He looked at me like I was crazy. It’s very frustrating. Just to store M855 in your arms room is about a weeks worth of paperwork.

  17. I wish they could implement some sort of policy similar to the surrounding community. In other words, if you can legally carry off base, you should be able to on base. I could accept some sort of additional safety briefing or minimum competency test to carry while on duty, if that’s what it took to make it work.

    The sad thing is I’ve seen bases where even allowing LEOs to carry in accordance with current federal law was seen as a “challenge” to security. If we don’t even trust the cops to carry guns, what the heck are we doing?

  18. Members of our military forces should not be armed because of the risk of terrorist attacks. They should be armed because they are supposed to be warriors proficient and able in the use of arms.

  19. When I was in the Army (1969-72) we always carried two loaded magazines whenever we carried an M-16 on guard duty, but we weren’t allowed to insert one into the rifle unless there was trouble. Now I live in Baltimore, and I observed that when the Maryland National Guard was occupying parts of the city after the recent riots, they had (presumably loaded) magazines inserted in all their rifles.

  20. I was an MP in the Army for 7 years and I can tell you that sneaking a firearm onto a military base is surprisingly easy. When I was in, there was usually one MP, usually a private, at each gate. The people that are actually checking ID’s and performing random vehicle searches are from multiple MOS’s and are there because they’re being punished or about to ETS out most of the time. I was stationed on a gate one time with a guy I had arrested for drunk on duty a few days prior. Hopefully things have changed since I’ve gotten out.

    • I was a security forces member in the gun free utopia of England when one of our patrols was dispatched to a domestic. They got there to find the guy had driven off and as they left to track him down they got a tip from investigations that the individual had a gun. They pull him over by the commissary and search his vehicle, nothing. They search it again and sure enough, they found a little j frame inside a Nintendo ds case. Needless to say, having a firearm be found inside a gun free zone on a “gun free country” really put things in perspective for me.

  21. To the Gentleman above who equated on-post shootings to unicorns: I was at Fort Hood about 500 meters away from where Hassan was going on his little shooting spree. I didn’t see any damn unicorns. Just because it is unlikely doesn’t mean it isn’t going to happen. Additionally, There were two there shootings going on at the time: one at the PX and one near a school in a housing area. Soldiers and their families were both in danger without the ability to defend themselves. When your buddy has his wife, calling from a school, on speaker phone and you can hear the gun shots in the background and your wife is calling telling you that her employees at the PX are hearing gun shots you don’t want them to be helpless. Being told that the civilian police are going to protect your wife from the rampaging shooters isn’t exactly comforting in a scenario like that, and you can see that they only got one shooter. We are better trained than the cops. Let us defend ourselves.

    • Yes, there have been two shooting incidents at Ft. Hood and one at the Washington Navy Yard. They do currently happen and will again in the future.

      I work on a Navy base and, as a result, am disarmed five days a week. I cannot even carry on my way to work, lock it in my trunk while at work, and then carry on my way home. I cannot have a weapon of any kind in my possession on base.

      What makes that even worse is that I pass near the private shooting club I am a member of on my way to and from work. I’d love to be able to put a gun in my trunk and stop on the way home from work for a little range time, but that is not possible, either.

  22. A bunch of PTSD-afflicted troops back from deployment where problems were solved by shooting…gee, why don’t they let military people carry guns? It’s a survival strategy.

    They defend democracy…they don’t practice it.

    • Gee, a bunch of cops just off the mean streets of {insert city} where problems were solved with fighting and shooting. I wonder why we don’t let them have guns.

      I hope this has put the dearth of stupidity in your post apparent

  23. as a former 17-year Air Force security forces member I was surprised to receive an email several weeks ago from individuals I served with. They said that we qualified as LEO’s and that LEOSA was now applicable to Air Force cops. effectively this is granting security forces members the ability to concealed carry while off duty, however still only applied off base. Former members as long as they had 10 or more years of service of qualify as well. still it does not address the security issues on the installation, but shortly afterwards I saw a picture of the front gate of an Air Force installation with its federal firearms ban signage, followed by a LEOSA welcome sign. it should be noted Air Force Cobb typically get are making use of force training every 6 months, similar if not more frequently then their civilian counterparts.

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