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In the Fort Hood shooting, Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan shot and killed 13 people and wounded 30 others. On an Army base. Now you might think that an Army base would be the second worst place for a spree killer to attack, right after a gun range. But no; the U.S. Army prohibits concealed weapons on its U.S. bases save those weapons used for training or security. This gun-free zone policy, plus the Fort Hood massacre, has spurred debate on both sides of the gun control issue. Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence Prez Paul Helmke: “This latest tragedy, at a heavily fortified army base, ought to convince more Americans to reject the argument that the solution to gun violence is to arm more people with more guns in more places. Lt. General Cone: “As a matter of practice, we do not carry weapons on Fort Hood. This is our home.” Home, schmome. Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma has introduced a bill to reverse the Army’s prohibition: S. 3388 which is . . .

A bill to protect the rights under the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States of members of the Armed Forces and civilian employees of the Department of Defense by prohibiting the Department of Defense from requiring the registration of privately-owned firearms, ammunition, or other weapons not stored in facilities owned or operated by the Department of Defense, and by prohibiting the Department of Defense from infringing on the right of individuals to lawfully acquire, possess, own, carry, or otherwise use privately owned firearms, ammunition, or other weapons on property not owned or operated by the Department of Defense. reports that Inhofe will “Try to get his bill, S 3388, attached as an amendment to the 2011 defense authorization bill that the armed services committee will be writing. He also could offer it as an amendment to the bill later this year when the measure comes to the Senate floor.”

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  1. The sad part is that this will be universally opposed by the brass. And while the maturity level of young soldiers sometimes leaves something to be desired (I speak from experience here) those who have jumped through the neccessary hoops to obtain a CCW permit are not the ones who need to be watched.

    It may seem counter-intuitive to the civilian mind that the military could be so anti-gun, but of course it's not so much anti-gun, it's pro-control. The military is always about keeping the troops under control and the brass will oppose this measure on the grounds that it could threaten that control.

    Just to give an example, at most of the Army installations where I lived (in the US), firearms were permitted in base-owned family housing. However, in the barracks and the BOQ (bachelor officer's quarters) they were generally prohibited. The assumption here is based on the belief that a home is, well, a home, whereas a barracks or BOQ is basically Animal House in uniform (and at least as far as the enlisted barracks go, I can testify that they do sometimes reach that level.)

    In the pre-9/11 days, most US Army installations in the US were "open posts", where anyone could just drive on and off without stopping at any checkpoints. During this period, the rule that all privately owned guns had to be registered was probably one of the most universally ignored regulations in the Army. Since 9/11, of course, there have been random vehicle searches so anyone packing a piece on-base could potentially face a very serious UCMJ charge for carrying that weapon illegally.

    Will the change happen? My gut says "no", but then again, we do have a precedent, the one that was established when CCW was allowed in National Parks (also Federal reservations.)

  2. I suppose it has changed with compact assault rifles, but my understanding was that troops carried rifles while only officers carried sidearms. Wouldn't private handguns change all that?

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