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Reader CC writes:

It seems that every time there is an active shooter incident on a military installation, the politicians scream that something should be done and demand to know why military members can’t carry weapons on base. A lot of blame is thrown around about which president is responsible for why carrying firearms in base is prohibited; yet no one seems to want to propose lifting the ban. I personally wish for the day we can carry concealed as I wonder if it will happen at the base where I am stationed . . .

Recently, I had to attend my M4 qualification course for a possible deployment. During the course, the instructors kept bringing up the possibility of dealing with an active shooter or green-on-blue attack. During one of the breaks, I talked with one of my classmates about the recent active shooter incidents on bases such as Fort Hood and the Washington Naval Yard. The instructor thought that if the base patrols could have responded quicker, then the incidents would have been a lot less severe. This upset me a little and so I asked him his thoughts on letting military members carry — either openly or concealed — and he thought it was a terrible idea.

When asked why, his response was that the typical military member cannot be trusted with a weapon on base. I was shocked as we were training to fire assault rifles for a deployment. The idea that we can be trusted while deployed but not at home was that during a deployment, you are under controlled conditions and no one carries a rifle with a chambered round. I was deployed for a year at Kabul International Airport and carried both an M9 and an M4 every day without incident. I only had to chamber my rifle when going outside the wire and the only time I cleared my M9 was when I had to clean it.

I pressed my classmate on this and brought up that there are many members of our squadron who have concealed handgun permits and carry off base all the time without a problem. He then proposed that if we allowed anyone to carry, it should be officers. Once again I brought up the fact that there are only six officers in our unit and none actually have time to deal with anything as they are tied up in meetings all day. The only officers I see in our work area are the pilots headed to their aircraft. If there was an active shooter on the base flightline and only officers carried handguns, it would be the same as waiting for first responders.

I realized that arguing with this individual wasn’t going anywhere as he seemed grounded in his belief that young people can’t be trusted with guns. He even proposed that if we allow people to carry on base, they should have to get their handgun from the base armory and check it back in at the end of the duty day. That seems logical for base security forces, but not people who work ten to fourteen hour days fixing aircraft. Plus, I remember once waiting a half hour to check out my weapons as I left for my last deployment since the guy running the armory was on a smoke break and the single man left said he had to wait for his partner to return to issue my weapons to me.

If we wish to change the policy on concealed handguns on base, it will not only take action from the politicians, but from the military itself. The idea that I can’t trust someone with a weapon is outdated and goes to the concept that a pissed off coworker carrying a gun is inherently dangerous. I work in an environment where people get upset all the time, yet none actually would go so far as to shoot someone over an argument or having to work on an off day. I’m constantly trying to educate those I work with as I feel that’s the first step. I worked with the Afghan Air Force for a year and had to worry about inside attacks every day.

Hopefully one day, the ban will be lifted and military members will be allowed to carry concealed. Heck, I’d settle for open carry if it prevented another mass attack on my fellow service members.

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  1. Another one I hear is that we can’t do that because then the uniform wouldn’t necessarily be uniform. (That’s more an objection to Open Carry).

    So someone somewhere would rather you all look the same than live. I get it.

    • I guess that would be an excuse for military members to not carry in uniform. I’d like to see a good reason for civilian contractors and civilian government employees to be restricted from carrying. We don’t wear ‘uniforms’.

      And as far as federal regulations prohibiting carry by people on army bases… I’ve seen nothing that prohibits carry on the land of a military base, other than an ARMY regulation (AR 190-11). And it seems to put the option on the shoulder of the senior commander as to whether he’ll allow firearms/weapons to be allowed on the base. Simply because it’s federal land, as far as I can see, doesn’t necessarily mean that firearms are prohibited. Even though the signs at the gates of Fort Rucker all cite USC 18, Sec 930 as the basis for prohibiting firearms on post. That code says nothing about carrying a firearm anywhere but IN FEDERAL BUILDINGS. I’m sure each service has its own anti-gun policies to spank otherwise law abiding visitors to military bases…

    • It seems to me that, if uniformity is the requirement, then that is easily solved; require everyone to open carry a sidearm as part of the uniform. There would, of course, have to be exceptions for certain duties/activities, but I’m sure such exceptions already exist for other uniform requirements.

      It may seem extreme in the current environment, but there was a time when it was expected that military men would carry weapons.

  2. He then proposed that if we allowed anyone to carry, it should be officers.

    Such an archaic line of thought. The only difference between officers and enlisted nowadays is that officers have a college degree. And with TA, GI Bills, CLEPs, etc, that gap closes pretty quickly. A lot of troops have their degrees by the time they make E5.

    I’d also like to add that .MIL aren’t the only ones that work on base. Civs and CTRs make up the majority of workers on my base, yet none of us can even keep a gun locked in our cars from commute. I was trained by the military and by the state’s CCW course, yet I am still unworthy of being able to defend myself on base. I have to trust the 18 year old kid with the slung M4 at the gate to do it for me. Yet, supposedly, that same kid can’t be trusted to carry a personal weapon on base while off-duty? Welcome to the logic-free zone.

    • The gate guards at Fort Rucker don’t even have M4s slung. They all have M9s and that all I’ve ever seen on them. They’ve probably got an M4 or two in the guard shacks, but it’s going to be a few seconds for them to reach those.

      • Ever since the elevation to FPCON Bravo our gate guards have had M4s slung when checking IDs.

        • Since FPCON Bravo, the AF mps have had m4s…..looks like they don’t even know his yo sling them though.

          The OP, I’m in the army, and if anyone else here is active, they know the army lives those “certs”.

          Just had to do the active shooter cert, for the 4th time this year, and I just click the next button. The whole time I sit there and think, “it would be better to engage the target then sit like a duck in the corner behind a table.”

        • Even with FPCON Bravo the guards on my gate have only the M9. Maybe once a month there will be a third sailor with a pump shotgun and a helmet standing by. I have my TN HCP and would really like to carry, but it is just not possible Mon-Fri. I carry on the weekends, but am disarmed 5 days a week. I would even be OK with unholstering on arrival a work and leaving my EDC in the trunk of my car. But no.

    • The officer excuse is really backwards. A college degree has nothing to do with safe and effective use of a handgun. My dad is very proficient with a hand gun, but he has no college degree. He was in the Marine Corps and law enforcement … but no college degree. He also was never an officer in the military or law enforcement. The “only officers should carry” logic sounds like something an officer would say! I’d rather have a well trained enlisted man covering my six any day!

      • I know you’re joking, but I just wanted to point out that it’s not factually accurate since many people do seem to have this misconception (esp. after watching “Enemy at the Gates”). The Red Army has never had a shortage of firearms during the WW2, not even at the earliest stages when they were getting royally fvcked by the Germans. What they did have was a shortage of ammo, but it never reached the level of absurdity shown in the movie, either (i.e. as a soldier, you might have had fewer clips than you should have been issued, but they never sent people with empty guns to charge enemy positions).

    • I wouldn’t say the difference is a college degree. I know lots of enlisted that had their degree before coming in. It’s more about attitude and career goals. Officers commit to a career that changes jobs every two years, from command, to staff and advanced strategic schooling. Enlisted (combat arms at least) commit to a 4-20 year career that keeps them training and improving in tactical situations, to include handling firearms. During an active shooting would rather have a guy used to issuing orders or a guy used to immediate action drills?

  3. So… I have to ask: Air Force? Because I had this same problem in my squadron too. For some reason despite being, you know, the MILITARY all of the other Airman I talked to were very anti gun (with maybe one or two exceptions). It made me more than a little embarrassed to be an Airman.

    • Justin, I’m sorry to hear your experience left you soured, but please don’t categorize the Air Force that way. I spent 30 years in it and found most people to be very pro-gun.

    • Hey man I know how you feel. I am medical and have heard an airmen say at M4 and M9 he is terrified of guns. Want to find the gun guys. Go talk to you NCOs and SNCOs they are usually pretty pro gun. The younger enlisted are a little poisoned by the anti gun crap in schools from 2000 onward.

    • That’s because the air force is full off sissies. None of them have testosterone, they’re like women, and butch about everything if it isn’t 5 star….most have college, so they’ve been liberalized already. Most come from the privileged middle to upper-middle class homes, where they live in their safe towns, that the only death is caused from a suicide by train or an overdose. Never seen a gun because their towns all have money. That’s for the most part. Not all. Most airmen I’ve talked to, come from that background.

      However, I do know a few airmen that are very patriotic, pro gun, and aren’t down with the govt taking your guns.

      I’m active army and based at an AF base. That’s just what I noticed.

      • Wow, you must be a young/naive soldier. If you spent two moments of logic on what you just stated, you’d realize that the bulk of the soldiers and airmen come from the same pools of people, culture may be somewhat different based on MOS/AFSC, etc. though. That was some nonsense if I ever heard any before…

      • Dude, I’m retired Army SF, and was an Air Force dependent for my first 18 years. It’s fine to joke about different services, but not cool to question their loyalty to the constitution and all the amendments. Yes, a lot of our Air Force counterparts don’t live, breathe and eat guns like alot of us do, but I don’t doubt their testosterone, education or enthusiasm at all. Of course, we don’t eat, breathe and live golf like they do, either (sorry, had to slip that in).

  4. Not long after 911 I asked one Army MP we’d brought in to upgrade security at the Pentagon where his rifle was. He’d had it the last few nights, but now was guarding one of the entrances with a pistol. He said the First Sgt had taken away his authority to carry it because his qualification period had just expired. What this means to me is that many people in positions of responsibility cannot adjust quickly (if at all) to wartime exigencies. They are too busy conducting CYA, knowing they will not be punished for following the rules even if it puts others in jeopardy. That attitude has long existed at supposedly safe locations such as a military base, yet we later had a female NCO murdered on base by her ex even though she was brought there for protection from him. Of course she wasn’t allowed to be armed and it cost her her life. But nobody ever questioned the policy. They just rearranged the deck chairs in preparation for the next fiasco.

    • Nothing like “Good Order and Discipline” when it comes to ‘dynamic’ military thinking.

  5. his response was that the typical military member cannot be trusted with a weapon on base

    This attitude descends from the General Officers all the way down the line. Because according to the Generals, the only thing that soldiers, sailors and marines are good for is to die. In ages gone by, you troops are what used to be called “cannon fodder.” Centuries later, nothing has changed. In the meantime, the big brass stays in the rear with the gear.

    They won’t trust you with a gun, yet you are supposed to trust them with your life.

    • This “soldiers can’t be trusted” is such nonsense. In NYC train stations there are National Gardsmen with 1911s and carbines. What do I understand from this? Ah, yes, the Guardsmen are good enough to ride shotgun over civilians but not other soldiers.

      My dad gave me my first .22 at age 13. I NEVER carried it WITH supervision; I only carried it completely ALONE. Both within the municipal limits of my village and in the countryside. Same score with my schoolmates.

      Something is SERIOUSLY wrong with the mentality of both our politicians and military officers.

    • There are some lessons to all of us PotG to be derived from all the comments CRITICIZING OFFICERS opposing on-base carry. Lessons that will SOLVE the military bases problems IMMEDIATELY; and, help us deal with the RKBA generally.

      First and foremost, we need to recognize that military (officers) can be JUST as ELITIST as civilian leaders (positions, captains of industry, foundation heads). If we are able to recognize that even military officers – intimately acquainted with guns – can’t reach a pro-gun-carry position then we shouldn’t be the least bit surprised that civilian leaders can’t do so either. Our problem may NOT be so much that the hoplophobes lack knowledge of guns (and guns in-an-environment, whether the town-square or a base); the problem REALLY lies in ELITE-ism.

      If this first point is valid then all the gun-education in the world isn’t going to overcome elite-ism. Our task is to overcome elite-ism.

      Second, we are (bizarrely) overlooking a really important point in this debate. A service member NOT-on-active duty and off-base is a citizen who holds RIGHTS. A service member ON active duty – especially when on-base – is subject to a completely different set of laws; he has DUTIES – among them, the duty to obey orders. Under such circumstances, a soldier has NO 2A rights; he has a duty to go-armed under orders and go un-armed when so ordered. (His natural rights are rendered a NULLATY.) (Before you get your boxers in a bunch, you will see that this observation actually takes us where WE WANT to go.)

      Third, out of every 100 or 100,000 people, there is bound to be at least one jackass who shouldn’t be carrying. If this is so among civilians it is also apt to be so among servicemen. What we do about this observation differers depending on context.

      Fourth, the civilian and military contexts are quite different. To illustrate, my mother was a licensed driver and enabled of her 2A rights. During the final 10 – 15 years of her life she was in no condition to drive or carry. It was our duty (my sister and I) to see to it that she didn’t have access to the car keys nor any guns. So much for the civilian with a right-to-carry who shouldn’t.

      The military doesn’t work this way. A soldier’s father, brother, uncle etc. doesn’t come on-base and disarm him. His superior officers order him to arm-up/dis-arm.

      Fifth, and the final conclusion, is that we need a VERY DIFFERENT approach to arming servicemen on-base vs. dis-arming citizens off-base. Moreover, if we FAIL to take a very different approach, we will find that we are IN-EFFECTIVE! All the elitists (President, officers, hoplophobes) will DIS-ARM our soldiers on-base. Is that what we want? To be IN-Effective?

      Observe that there ARE a FEW servicemen who ARE armed on-base; i.e., the military police. Perhaps these few constitute 1% of the force. How are these few armed while the other 99% are dis-armed? Because the officers chose this 1% to be armed. I.e., the officers fancy themselves able to judge the character of servicemen to the degree that they can safely arm 1% without jeopardizing the mission. Hhmmmmmmmm.

      Are these 1% the “ONLY-ONES” who can be so trusted? Isn’t it possible that 2% of the force be trusted? If 2% is it possible that 20% could be trusted? How about 40%?

      Interestingly, the POWER to decide what percentage of the force is to bear-arms is NOT in the hand of the officer corp. Nor is it in the hands of the Commander-in-Chief. THAT power is in the hands of CONGRESS: “To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces.”

      Congress could, by law, “make Rules” REQUIRING the commander of each base to arm AT LEAST: 1%; 2%; 20% or 40% of service members on his base. PERIOD. No officer could use his discretion to flaunt such a Congressional “Rule”. Not even the Commander-in-Chief could flaunt such a “Rule”.

      GET THIS: We ought to be focusing on the distinction between:
      – Soldiers MAY carry; vs.
      – Officers SHALL ORDER soldiers to carry.

      “MAY carry” interferes with the officers’ authority to choose who is a jackass and shouldn’t jeopardize the mission by carrying. SHALL ORDER merely implements the Congressional power to decide that AT LEAST X% of soldiers can presumably be trusted.

      Officers, via a wink or a nod could see to it that no soldier actually exercises his “MAY carry” liberty. No officer, not even the President, would dare to flaunt SHALL ORDER at least X% to carry.

      We the People ought to be taking our beef to our Senators and Representatives DEMANDING that they pass a law establishing “Rules” to compel base commanders to arm AT LEAST X% of the servicemen on their bases.

      Assuming the officers wish to retain their Congressional commissions, they will arm AT LEAST X%. If X is between 20% and 40%, the Nidal Hasan problem has been solved! (Some fraction of X% should be OC and some should be CC.) Now, get this: How can the Anti’s attack this approach?:

      “Well, Mr. & Ms. Voter, the officer corp can’t find among the members of the armed forces – i.e., your sons and daughters – more than 1% who can be trusted to bear arms on base because . . . ”

      And here, the entertainment begins. This approach puts the Anti’s in an UN-tenable position to argue against arming at least X% of servicemen.

      • I think you’re observations are brilliant. This sort of well reasoned argument ought not only be pursued, birthright in the face of progressives and rhinos we next they say something ought to be done.

  6. This situation is completely bizarre. The only time I’m not armed is when I’m in uniform, and that’s when I’m the biggest target.

    Expert pistol shot, state CHL holder, clearances by the boatload, have trained with, led, and outshot Navy Security Forces, conning officer on DDGs and FFGs….and somehow I’m not trusted to carry a .380 in my pocket on base???

    • To be completely candid, someone IN THE SERVICE shouldn’t even be thinking in terms of “why can’t I put a 380 in my pocket.”

      It’s the frigging military, i.e., the job that involves being able to apply force, and open carry of something a bit more potent than a pocket 380 should be the rule.

      • Steve, I totally agree; I mentioned the .380 for rhetorical purposes. Actually what would make the most sense from a policy standpoint is to let me carry (openly or concealed, at my choice) a personally-owned M9, which is what I’ve qualified on in the Navy, and which the Navy should have some confidence in my ability to use.

        • …Ah, gotcha (re the .380)

          The other advantage to an M9 (or its nearly identical Beretta 92FS twin) is they ought to be able to issue you a holster for it, or at the very least, let you buy it at cost.

    • I wouldn’t trust you with a .380. Better up that to at least a 9 or 45! Lol. I’m just joking.

      I know what you mean. I’m enlisted army, chl in CO, clearances up the butthole, granted I’m an e3, can outshoot just most in the branches with a pistol or rifle, I’ve been shooting since I was really little. They only time I can’t carry, like you, is when I’m in uniform, that’s when I’m the biggest target. Especially where I’m based because this placed is constantly being checked on by foreign spies and terrorists.

  7. My son is stationed at Fort Hood in Texas and was there during the last shooting. He texted me and said everyone was to shelter in place and that the sargents were issued their M9s. I kind of figure out he was about a mile away from the shooting. It was kind of nerve wracking. Should they be able to carry, yes.

  8. I wouldn’t poo-poo the idea of officers carrying. Sometimes change is revolutionary, other times it’s evolutionary. First officers, then NCOs, etc.

    • How remarkably classist of you.

      One of the horrible things we inherited from the British was the way we select officers. I’d refer you to Martin VanCreveld’s “On the Training of Officers”. Gentlemen officers suck rocks, and the Israeli system is much better.

      • Did you even read my comment? My opinion has nothing to do with elitism. And even if it did the system we would have inherited (according to you) from the British is that officers were from the privileged class from birth, rather than for the sake of their college education. You apparently missed the part where I said, ‘Sometimes change is revolutionary, other times it’s evolutionary’. Is the fact that I have to pay to exercise my ‘shall not be infringed’ right to keep and BEAR arms unconstitutional? Of course it is. But once you’ve won on ‘shall issue’ you can move the goal posts for constitutional carry. That’s called ‘evolutionary change’.

        • YES! Because the sh!tbird ROTC guy with a romm temperature IQ is clearly the one to lead the platoon into combat, because… college.

          Thanks for making my point for me. You could pick a private AT RANDOM, send him to OCS, and get similar results. If you went by GT score and made them serve 2 years first… Oh, wait, then we’d be Israel, and we’d actually have combat leaders who had seen – combat? But that’s crazy talk.

          I read your entire post, and I thought it was classist and uneducated.

        • That’s funny. Being called ‘uneducated’ by someone with the reading comprehension skills of a 3rd grader.

      • Not quite. OCS, ROTC, Service Academies, Enlisted to Officer Accessions…not many people buying their commissions out of any of those sources, and even fewer are chosen for their ‘breeding.’

        Good try, though.

        As far as carry on base, I’m all for it (with the obvious exceptions i.e. working in confined spaces, working on aircraft or FOD sensitive equipment, etc.)

        Right now, I’d even accept putting my firearm in a command controlled safe where at least the duty NCO/duty officer has the combo. Check em in when you come to work, check em out when you leave. We could actually spend time on weapons training, too, because you know someone somewhere would invent a GMT to score some FITREP brownie points…but at least this GMT wouldn’t make me want to kill myself.

        At least then I wouldn’t be defenseless driving to and from work (ever seen the seedy strip outside a Navy base? You’ll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy, as a wise man once said.

        The gov has it right. Evolutionary, vice revolutionary, steps are going to win this fight. At a minimum, the Officer on duty and Duty NCO should be armed at every command.

        • The bottom line is, we still select our officers like the brits do.

          And that system sucks.

          As soon as you get that butter bar you are a member of the elite. Even though in terms of experience you are a private with shiny rank. That’s the problem. And oh, by the way, how many flag officers are from the ranks vs. service academies?

          And o, by thy way, wha pray tell are the JCS doing to actually win? Because it aeems to me our strategy for the last 14 years has been “piss turpentine on a brush fire”.

          Of course was just a dumb NCO, responsible for trying to keep my troopers alive despite you retarded missions. Which acomplished crap. “Sir”

          ISIS is running rampant in the Middle East, we are f***ing over our only ally (Israel), I lost a thord of my team dues to ROE bullshitm and YOU presume to lecture ME?

          Here’s a wake up call, I served, my dad served, my grandparents (male and female) served. My family served since they came to America. And it will stop with me, because I don’t WANT my son to serve, because he will be led by you, “sir”.

          Go find another 33% to kill following your dumb ass rules.

        • DJ, nothing you’re talking about is relevant to the article or the comment you’re replying to. Calm down and actually read the comments.

        • His response was to you, not the article.

          Everything he said was spot on and I too, won’t have my son join for the same reasons. This is my first and last contract.

          I first realized this when I was at a particular duty station speaking to the BC, and realized well…I won’t bother with this story until I’m out. Message me I’m 4 1/2 years.

  9. Years ago, I was having breakfast in the buffet at the Gold Coast in Las Vegas when about 50 Air Force non-coms in unis dropped in for their meal.

    It struck me that among all of us, the only one armed was me. So if some jihad @ssh0le wanted to open up on them, I, a legally armed civilian, was the only person in the room who could save those military personnel.

    Man, that’s just wrong.

    • Depending on the circumstances, they could have still been CCing. When I was still in the Army Reserves, whenever I went out to Lunch, I would often CC in my uniform. Since my unit was located on a small piece of Federal/State property, I could literally park my car on private land and keep my firearm in there.

  10. The game has changed! I believe that in todays atmosphere were a terrorist attack is a matter of when not if, our men and women in uniform need to be able to defend themselves even on home soil. What has been happening at the Naval Yards and with Ft. Hood should have been more of a wake up call than anything. If we can trust them overseas with M9’s, I think we can trust them over here as well.

  11. When I was deployed to the PI the Marines at the joint outpost there did roving patrols with rifles and pistols…except they weren’t given any mags. All I could do was laugh.
    What a fucking joke that was. They were supposed to be the “marine security element” and yet whenever we were on am elevated threat status it was my unit that was assigned to take charge.

  12. Base gun / ammo bans are one of the reasons I left the military. I make more money and have much more freedom to carry as a police officer. On duty and off (although I don’t have the choice regarding my primary carry guns). And I live in Brea, CA! The only reason I’m not carrying this very second is because I’m drinking 100 proof scotch.

    • Springbank, Lismore, Longrow, Glenmorangie or (be still my foolish heart) McCallan?

      Don’t leave me hanging.

      • Lismore! Got some of the 21 year old stuff for later, too. Had some McCallan 18 but it went fast.

  13. I left the military when I realized that my chain of command had neither respect for me as a man nor the backbone to fight to win. I respect the guys that are still serving, but I have no idea why they are doing it. I get “the guy to the left and the right of you”, but it’s the guy that’s BEHIND you who will kill you. For their career. So they don’t look bad. For the “Liberal Army Values”. Whatever.

    Patton would be chaptered out in today’s military.

  14. My father was an Army officer in the Korea-Vietnam era. He was not anti-gun, but he always felt like the enlisted men could not be trusted to carry guns except in combat or closely supervised training. His attitude became even more extreme in the late-Vietnam period when discipline problems became severe.

    I would suggest that this attitude (regarding the lower ranks as untrustworthy rabble) by military officers goes way back, but I’m not sure why it hasn’t changed in recent decades with the all-volunteer force. I see many reports that enlisted personnel in the sandbox were encouraged to carry weapons at all times, but it doesn’t seem to have taken hold very well.

    Not sure why. Any ideas?

  15. It’s interesting to note that many states will issue CCL to military personnel without requiring additional training. Just show your .mil ID, pay the fee and you’re done. Yet leadership says you can’t carry. I don’t get it.

    But I also know that just because the sign says it’s a gun free zone, doesn’t mean it is. Many good guys with guns ignored the regs on this one.

    • Kevin – Precisely. My wife and I used our 214 as proof of training for our Virginia CHP yet we were both products of the 1980’s unarmed Navy. My weapons training consisted of 1 hour in boot camp with 2 magazines of 22 in a 1911. That’s it. It is nice to see now, post 9/11, that the Navy requires small arms qualifications for all personnel and that they have massively increased the size of their security forces. But while in Bahrain, I talked with some of those security personnel, and they only get to qualify once per year with 50 rounds. There are no other opportunities for them to practice. I wondered if ammo is so expensive that the Navy can’t afford to support additional training…

  16. When is was in the sand box, we had a saying: We do well in spite of leadership, not because of it. Glad to see it’s still the same.

  17. I was an Infantry Platoon sergeant , deployed 4 times to OIF/OEF and just retired after 20 years of service.

    The idea of privates carrying on base scares the crap out of me.

    I know everybody on THR tends to be an absolutist. I know many of you also think that our brave men and women in uniform are exceptional examples of patriotism and professionalism. Many of you who think the average soldier is a fine young specimen of America have never actually served, or been woken up at 3AM because one of your privates has locked himself in a motel bathroom to keep a transexual prostitute from stealing whats left of his money. If you served in a senior leadership position you would realize that most soldiers are really ticking time bombs that are just waiting to destroy your career and pension.

    Now lets add ready access to guns into the mix of alcohol, testosterone.

    Yes, we trust our young soldiers with weapons and ammunition but only under very controlled conditions.

    Now I would have no problem with the CQ Duty and Runner being armed during the day. I have no problem with soldiers carrying onto the base, but the guns need to be locked up in the arms room until the end of the day. This will piss off the armorer but screw him since he is usually clean and dry when we have a 2 week field problem.

    You could lock a soldier naked in a padded room with three rocks and come back in an hour and I guarantee you that one rock will be missing, one will be broken and the third will be pregnant.

    Look, guys. Guns aren’t the answer to everything all the time. The odd of being in a mass shooting are very low – but the odds a private will say “want to see my new – BANG” are far, far higher.

    • Here’s the problem: The more junior you go (on both the enlisted and officer side), the more variability there is in the maturity and competence of the people you encounter. The more senior you go (on both the enlisted and officer side), the more uniformly competent and mature the people are. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t awesome E-1s (and O-1s) or lousy E-9s (or O-6s), but statistically I find there’s less variation as you move up in seniority. Also, college doesn’t always make a person more mature, but most people do become much more mature between 18 and 21.

      In my unit, there’s not a single E-4 or above I wouldn’t trust with weapons. But there are two E-3s who have done stupid things, sometimes with weapons, that have caused me to keep them disarmed while on duty. In both cases, it’s a maturity issue, and with some counseling and time the situation has improved.

      • I tend to agree with you both on this, and would have to add O-1 and O-2 to the list of couldn’t be trusted with 3 rocks department. SDO and duty NCO plus O-4 and above, plus E-6 and above, plus Warrants should be carrying in today’s climate.

      • Indeed, it is a maturity problem. But the cause of the problem is that we don’t teach/train maturity or leadership.

    • Agree mostly. Spent 24 years in USAF, plenty of that time worked with Army. Uncle, cousin both Marines, Father 26 years Army, another uncle 20 years Army. Another uncle 20 years Navy. Almost every male member of my family at one point or the other. I’ve either worked with or lived with all levels; officer, warrant, SNCO, NCO, enlisted, and I can tell you that people on the outside have an overly optimistic view of the competence and intelligence of the average military member. Always remember that the private guarding the base gate is probably 18 or 19 years old, and then remember what you (or some of the people you knew) were at that age. I frankly don’t trust Jimmy from across the street with a gun; he smoked weed in high school, drove around drunk half the time, and got his girlfriend pregnant when they were 16. The number of mature, responsible, 18 year old kids in my seriously average neighborhood when I was growing up was basically me and buddy Dave.

      I was a TTI (Technical Training Instructor) for 8 years, instructing both officer and enlisted troops. Biggest thing I learned is that a 2LT is just an airman with a degree. Neither the 2LT nor the Amn know a damn thing about anything, and I couldn’t trust half of them not to break the equipment if I turned my back. I can’t imagine giving those clowns a loaded weapon and actually expect them to handle it safely and wisely.

      Having worked with and lived with the Army, I can totally agree that a large number of the young enlisted troops are dumb as a box of rocks. And if they aren’t dumb, they are immature. I’m a big gun guy, totally support the 2nd, but you get a room full of privates and give them unsupervised access to weapons and dumb will happen. It happened when I was a young airmen and people haven’t changed much if at all in the last 30 years. They need training, they need education, and they need responsible, mature people commanding/leading them so they don’t do stupid. Do you have any idea how hard that is to do?

      Giving officers or NCOs access to a gun in a safe is a horrible idea. By the time a guy like Hasan has shot up a theater and is reloading his pistol, the officer/NCO is still trying to dial the combo to the safe. If you’re gonna have a gun, be wearing it. A gun in a safe is useless.

      • If you guys don’t trust someone with a firearm, they shouldn’t be in the army, period. My takeaway from your posts is that US armed forces are basically a mess through and through, and that should be the subject of this conversation, not on-base carry.

        I would like to point out that IDF soldiers are allowed to carry their firearms not just on-base, but also off-base during their rec time, and they do have loaded magazines with them (albeit not inserted into the rifle). And we’re talking about conscripts here, not volunteers. If this can be done with a conscript force without incidents, surely it can be done with an all-volunteer force.

    • You’re making the same exact arguments for banning guns on campus. Also for banning guns in general.

    • Wow, I disagree with almost everything you said. Also, do you believe that you were a just and capable leader to your soldiers when you automatically categorize them as being retarded dirt bags before even knowing them?

      There is no such thing as a perfect society, people screw up from time to time. Especially young college aged men who are new at being away from home and on their free time experimenting with how much alcohol they can drink. No one recommended that you give them a firearm whenever someone binge drinks at a bar, so not sure where that alcohol argument of yours came from.

      It’s funny you mention deployments to OIF/OEF, where your soldiers should have been armed 24/7, and somehow that failed to convince you that they could be trusted with firearms. Another thing to think about is that whole MOS’s carry their weapons all day long in garrison with negligible issues (e.g. MP/SPs).

      Listening to some of you self proclaimed experienced military leaders is scary to me and sounds like almost identical excuses as the liberal gun control lobby on why citizens in urban areas should be disarmed… it is almost pathetic.

  18. I’m a State Trooper and I’m also in the Army Reserves. Right now I’m at a 4 month MOS school on a military base, and I brought my off duty ccw with me. Does the army care that I have a cwp? No. Do they care that I’m in law enforcement? No.

    What they do care about is enforcing New York style gun control for soldiers that are on base. My pistol is locked in an arms room where I can’t check it back out until my assignment is finished in a couple months. So when I leave base to go eat or run errands I’m just out of luck. Meanwhile a few miles outside of post you can see citizens open carrying in walmart. The Army can be stupid.

    • You have no idea. Give it 10 years and watch some close friends die. Then see what you think about their rules..

  19. Wouldn’t work. We’d need to fundamentally reform the military first, from a gen 2 to at least a gen 3 organization.

  20. I served 22 years, my last 10 at Fort Hood, the last 5 of those at various positions as a Senior NCO in a Division HQs and the III Corps HQs.

    I can tell you the Army leadership is extremely risk averse and have major control issues. They look at the suicide rates, the blotter reports from the local communities, and the UCMJ reports and apply composite risk management and come to the conclusion that no way can they trust a Soldier to carry a personal weapon, especially when they can’t have oversight. Many, many are just outright anti-gun. While they view a terrorist assault as a possibility, it is one that they believe can be mitigated with force protection procedures, whereas individually armed Soldiers are a unpredictable and volatile risk they can’t control.

    No way, no how will they they relent on a ban on the installation. In fact, they have steadily worked to not only keep a on-post ban, but have strived to make even off-post ownership onerous. At one time they required every Soldier to list by make, caliber, and serial number every firearm they owned, including those residing off-post (I retired shortly after this went into effect, and don’t know if it is still true). In my unit, each Soldier had to be formally counseled about the dangers of private ownership and was evaluated by his/her commander for suicide risk. NCOs were ordered to visit their subordinates off-post quarters and determine if they had complied truthfully to the request for firearm ownership data-this was eventually held to be unenforceable, but yet we NCOs were still encouraged to visit our troops and see what we could see.

    It is an unfortunate situation that Soldiers sent into combat are not trusted by their leadership in garrison.

    • I think a lot of that way of thinking has to do with upper level politic ideology. Just like the US Gov agencies saying armed Veterans are potential terrorists.

  21. There is at least some basis in logic for the policy. There are a lot of people in the military who are very young, immature, and irresponsible. They went straight from high school where they may have learned very little and matured less, to boot camp where they are controlled for every second.

    Experience has shown that without the constant and continuous control in boot camp or in a deployed environment that a significant number revert to the maturity of eight year olds.

    Don’t shoot the messenger.

    In a garrison environment enough of these cause a lot of problems. It is not only snobbery to notice this. It is the result of a hierarchical system where the junior most have little responsibility and a lot of obligation to obey.

    Perhaps the 21 age limit for carrying would solve the perceived problem. I hope so because I want to carry on base too.

    But it is not easy to dismiss the legitimate concerns that absent stringent discipline that too many knuckleheads can and do commit serious lapses of judgment. The system essentially guarantees it.

    I’m not saying all are like that. I’m saying that enough are that you can’t just scoff at the objections.

    • Ha, you are so spot on! There would literally be wild west shootouts in the streets of every base/post! Only 18-21 year olds that decide not to serve their country are mature enough to be trusted with firearms!

      • With that comment you obviously never served your country and thus have no basis to even comment on this policy. I joined the USAF one month before my 21st birthday an turned 21 at Lackland AFB, TX. Before joining the military my father had already provided more training with weapons, hand to hand combat, survival, and tracking than I ever received in the military. My father was a cop and a lifelong woodsman and he expected the same from me. At 18 my training in weapons was already beyond what anyone receives in any military basic training. I was supposed to follow my father and become a cop but chose the military instead.
        And for all you AF bashers out there, there is no one I want pulling me out of a situation resulting from a downed aircraft but the USAF PJs. And if the AF didn’t bomb the hell out the enemy before your assault, how long do you think you would actually last. Air superiority is the first priority. Had to get that off my chest.
        But as to the carry of weapons on base, every qualified service person (male and female) and every civilian with a CCW license should be required, not just authorized, to carry on base. People talk about a wild west scenario ensuing from this, but the wild west wasn’t the wild west. You need to do some research, read some actual history, and stop forming opinions from what you have seen on TV and at the movies.
        The fact is nobody will start shooting at his fellow service members when he knows everyone else will return fire at him. Give them all psych tests and if their profile is such that they can’t be trusted to carry a weapon, discharge them. The only exceptions would be medical personnel inside an operating room or psych ward.

    • >> There is at least some basis in logic for the policy. There are a lot of people in the military who are very young, immature, and irresponsible. They went straight from high school where they may have learned very little and matured less, to boot camp where they are controlled for every second.

      So remind me, why are we giving these people assault rifles, again?

  22. Here’s the thing… No matter what you might think the military doesn’t trust their people to be adults, and often rely on ridiculous blanket policies to try and keep us “safe”… It’s easier to do that than it is to be a real leader. PT belts anyone?

    The idea that they’ll decide to let us carry privately owned firearms on post is absurd.

  23. The average soldier is to immature to handle a gun because the military treats every soldier lime a child. Some man babies need this but most don’t. So they educate, train and policy around the lowest common denominator. Dodd the private who stole a humve and did donuts on the colonel’s lawn until it flip over, just to impress a girl. To be fair he did end up marrying that girl. I short raise the minimum enlistment age to 25

  24. I think that I can give a fairly objective view on this situation given my rank and age.

    I’m a 28 year old e3 (no, I haven’t been UCMJd, I went to basic 2 months before my 27th birthday…and I still out pt and am in better shape than 98% of the 18 year olds lol).

    I, without a doubt, think that we should be able to carry on base. However, it should based off your age, not rank. 24+ would be reasonable. I can tell you flat out, I know 18 year old privates, and sgts that are 22, and I wouldn’t trust any of them with a gun. I’ve meet an
    Officer from 10 mins away from me, that went to the same college I did (he was a 23 year old O-1)… I wouldn’t trust him with a gun after exchanging some college stories. He wasn’t very mature/much knowledge of about anything. Now, not everyone that is older is mature. That is true. Let’s face it, odds are your average 24 year old is more mature than your avenge 18 year old.

    It has little to do with rank and a lot to do with age. With age comes maturity.

    • I can sympathize with you. I enlisted way back when just 2 weeks short of my 35th birthday. I was the oldest man in BCT and used to have cadre from other training units drop by to stare at the “old guy”. Once I was in my unit, as an E-4 I received a lot of deference from NCOs because everyone assumed I’d been UCMJd.
      The thing that makes the US military so special, despite the efforts at playing upper class “officer business” games is the NCO corps. I’ve had foreign service guests marvel at the independence and authority an American NCO has. And I have to say the officers that impressed me the most were 1) Special Forces, 2) Private military academy grads (VMI, the Citadel, etc.), 3) USMA grads, 4) any officer wearing an NCO PD ribbon and 5) an Army Chaplain wearing his (earned) Trident.

  25. “the typical military member cannot be trusted with a weapon on base.”

    WE have the most trusted and loyal military in the world yet we are not trusted – by democrats.

  26. I belve that a sidearm should be part of the uniform for every milltary member at all times. We call them the ARMED forces for a reason.

  27. If most on base/post were armed and a terrorist attack happens it would be mass confusion. Who’s the bad guy, who’s the good guys?

    Fort Hood and Navy Yard were both insider threats, those are the hardest to prevent.

    As for base security, hopefully this woke everyone up across all bases. Lax procedures lead to a sailor’s death from someone who had no reason to be on NOB.

  28. I served 12 years and some change in the Corp. I’ve worked with some American elite units around the world. I can tell you that this attitude of disarmed service members is unanimous among all the services especially in the higher officer (Col and above) and some senior enlisted ranks. Also I can tell you for the most part the most Anti-gun service members I met where Air Force and some Navy. Granted they where self proclaimed liberals and champions of tolerance. And the folks that where in the Navy where matching the stereotype of being gay as well as liberal.
    Aside from these special snowflakes the majority of the service members I worked with all agree that they should be able to carry concealed on base. There was talk about this in the Marines shortly after the shooting on Quantico. They majority of the responses from higher brass was the same. If you can qualify with a pistol you should be able to carry on base provided the weapon you carry is registered with your base Provost Marshals office. Furthermore just like qualifying every year with your TO weapons ie pistol and rifle you would also have to qualify on a defensive CCW course additionally similar to what Staff Duty Officers are supposed to do for their deadly force training.
    The commanders organized this into the Senior enlisted and Officer PME (Professional Military Education) seminar with a round table discussion from all the units and subject matter experts for further discussion. Most of the members agreed with to these terms. They also discussed revoking the permit if the service member had a domestic problems with their partner or was currently undergoing treatment for Substance Abuse or other mental issues at the local SARC. IMHO if you can qualify with a pistol, show proficiency to carry a firearm and lock it up when you are consuming alcohol then there shouldn’t be a reason not to carry on base. Unfortunately the idea was torpedoed once it hit the general officer ranks.

    • One of the things that truly disgusted me about my former fellow officers was their complete lack of willingness to make decisions on anything. General officers are not going to address CC or any other carry option for services members for fear that if there is an attack on a base and someone gets killed (good or bad guy) that General will be held accountable and will have no chance to make his next star.

      They really don’t care about the service members, its all about their careers.

      • Chesty is spinning in his grave by the lack of testicular fortitude our politicians in uniform with stars and birds have.

        • Matt,
          It goes all the way down the ranks, especially in the non-combat arms branches. F’n wimps couldnt even make the decision on how many sheets of toilet paper to wipe their collective butts with without call a staff call to decide.

          Soldiers are just as much a victim of the anti gun mentality that it would take years to fix. Start with Basic Training. Make soldiers sleep with their weapons like the Corps does (no ammo of course) and go from there. Officers are no different. I grew up with them but most officers now a days don’t. When I went through IOBC at Benning many years ago I regularly had to disarm at least one of my fellow 2LT’s at live fire ranges. Not a good feeling to see a guy start to freak out because he has live ammo and has the weapon on rock and roll, his finger on the trigger and pointing it in every direction except down range.

  29. As an active MM1/SS, I like the idea of being able to carry on base. I’m not opposed to some extra training for military members to carry on base either. I think the problem lies in the fear that one disgruntled sailor/marine/soldier/airmen might take advantage. This will happen either way if the individual is motivated enough, and will end sooner if others are carrying. If uniformity is the issue, then policy can dictate how a member carries. You can bet that the majority of men and women in the military have some firearm training, and those willing to carry on base will go to extra training and qual shoots to maintain the ability to do so. If we can trust our service members to handle a gun even at just an annual qualification, why can’t we trust them day to day? Carrying on base shouldn’t take more than (at most) a special request chit, a day class, and maybe a monthly proficiency.

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