Time to revisit firearms policies on military posts

This month’s tragic — and probably preventable — mass shooting at Ft. Hood, Texas, certainly raises questions about why a lone shooter was able to unload not one but several magazines of ammunition over a several minute period – shooting  and wounding more than 30 soldiers and killing 13, at a heavily restricted US Army base.   Just as legitimate questions were raised following the mass killings on the Virginia Tech campus in 2007, both military personnel and civilian citizens alike ought now to be asking of themselves and our elected and appointed leaders, not only whether the perpetrators of such carnage could reasonably and appropriately have been identified in advance and prevented  from carrying out their obviously well-planned mass murders; but also, whether it makes sense to disarm a captive group of citizens (at Virginia Tech, the student body; at Ft. Hood, the military personnel assigned to the base).

In the case of Ft. Hood, it is important to bear in mind that since 1993, thanks to a policy ordered by then-President Bill Clinton, it has been essentially unlawful for individuals on military bases to carry firearms unless they are military police, or are training in firearms at a firing range.  Many of those who support this gun-free military base policy have reacted to calls to review it, by simply echoing the standard refrain of gun-control advocates that, “we don’t want everyone on a military base running around with a gun on their hip.”  (Of course, had this been the case at Ft. Hood, it is doubtful Maj. Hasan could have squeezed off more than a couple of rounds before being himself felled by an armed soldier.)  It is a false dichotomy that we either allow no one (except MPs) or everyone on military bases to possess firearms.  Rather, the debate should center on why is it made virtually impossible for any soldier on a military base to carry arms, even if they have in fact been properly vetted and trained in their use? 

Why, after all, should a citizen be forced to surrender his or her right to keep and bear arms, simply because they have entered military service; service expressly supposed to teach the proper and safe use of firearms? 

In the case of the students at Virginia Tech two years ago, it was Virginia legislators who decided to disarm them and make them sitting ducks for a single crazed gunman, Seung-Hui Cho.  For the military victims at Ft. Hood this Fall, it was three commanders-in-chief (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama), and a series of politically-correct base commanders, who rendered those who serve under them vulnerable to an apparent religious zealot bent on killing as many of his fellow service men and women as he could.  Continuing to stick our heads in the sand and refuse to even reconsider amending such policies as those that apply to campuses in Virginia (and other states across the country) and at Ft. Hood (and virtually every other military post across the country), vastly improves the chances that our students and our military personnel will be victims of other deranged individuals in the future.

81 comments Add your comment

Chris Broe

November 18th, 2009
6:04 pm

Remember when Bush asked all Americans to email him what targets we imagined Al Queda might hit next? He got everything from sports stadiums attacked by Propane trucks, to the old Goodyear blimp attack like in that movie, to radio controlled hobby planes equipped with poison gas dispensers to just a small army attacking a small city with assault weapons ala Red Dawn.

If it’s impossible to hijack airliners now, and pirating ships is passe, then the only thing left is a bio/nuke. Forget bio, it’s too complicated. It’s nukes.

A dirty bomb. A small briefcase nuke. Most people thought that a dirty bomb was most likely. I was told by an actual operative that a person could hold nuclear material in two soup cans and clap his hands together and get some sort of dirty bomb disaster. So any crude machined bomb of any radioactive material at all could yield a significant catastophe. he also said that it would be impossible to detect or prevent. Add that to Cheney’s chilling warning about an impending 911 dead ahead.

Man I hope Cheney was just being a partisan jerk.

Mark Buono

November 18th, 2009
6:11 pm

Police aren’t required to protect you. In Warren v. District of Columbia (1981), the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled, “official police personnel and the government employing them are not generally liable to victims of criminal acts for failure to provide adequate police protection. . . a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular citizen.” In Bowers v. DeVito (1982), the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, “[T]here is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals or madmen.”

Guns are good, some people are bad and some people are just ignorant.

Sheldon

November 18th, 2009
7:12 pm

My god.. give them there guns…

Doug

November 18th, 2009
7:35 pm

Gun free zones are yet another manifestation of the ‘progressive’ disconnect from reality.

Garry Owen

November 18th, 2009
8:13 pm

Thank you Mark Bruno. Most people in America are uaware of this. Who is going to protect you, America?

James

November 18th, 2009
8:46 pm

A GUN FREE ZONE is what got our US Army soldiers killed at the FT Hood Base in Texas. The same thing that got the Virgina Tech students killed. GUN FREE ZONES are known to be killing fields for cowards with guns. You don’t see these cowards going into a police station shooting at cops, where there are many human targets. No, they go where they can do the most damage being an active shooter, a “GUN FREE ZONE”.
Creating GUN FREE ZONES gets people killed. Allow conceal carry permit holders in the public allows self defense from this type of attack. He may have been able to wound or kill one person, but if these soldiers would have been armed with a fully load service M9 this POS terrorist would have been dead before killing 13 US Army Americans and wounding many others.

M1ashot

November 18th, 2009
8:56 pm

The Klinton policy caused the US NAVY sailors to have empty M-14’s on the deck of the U.S.S. Cole. Whic could have exploded that boat at 6-700yds. and saved the lives of brave young men. The Officer of the deck had a unloaded 9mm peashooter – unloaded ofcourse To bad Chelesey was not a young sailor on that boat.
Dan

M1ashot

November 18th, 2009
9:18 pm

“Dirty bombs” a figment of Homeland Security Mind.
1. Can’t be scattered bigger than 30yds without tons of conventional explosives.
2. Nuke elements that are really dangerous are harder to get than hi explosives. They just want to scare Americans with “Dirty Bomb” BS
3. Bio/ Chem much simpler which Iran has “Poor mans Nuke” Fleas with Plauge as japs used on Chinese.
4. Go get a good education in logic & science- troll

Charles Fry

November 18th, 2009
9:46 pm

Enter your comments here

Howard B

November 18th, 2009
11:31 pm

I am retired military, a member of the NRA and have a concealed carry permit. As a military retiree I am able to visit any military installation, but I can’t do it while I have a weapon with me. When I am traveling and want to enter a military installation, I have to find somewhere to leave my weapon or take the chance of being prosecuted for having a weapon.
I will never understand how any seemingly intelligent person could think I should lose my second amendment rights, just by entering a military installation.

[...] Read more. Category: Right to Bear Arms [...]

RANDALL CARSON

November 19th, 2009
12:25 am

All I can say is AMEN!!!!!!!!!

david robinson

November 19th, 2009
7:12 am

Because my wife is a Chief Warrant officer with the Florida National Guard. I have occasion to visit a number of Army posts each year. Even though I have a carry permit for the state of Florida. By law, I am not allowed to have a weapon on my person or in my vehicle. That means I am forced to leave my handgun at home. From the time I leave my home until I return, I have no protection at all. Now I’m sure that there many other men and women who carry, and find themselves in the same situation. If we who have been checked and rechecked and rechecked by local law enforcement, state law enforcement, the FBI and in my case, because of my being an Army vet, probably the United States Army or the Department of Defense. If someone with the right to carry was at Fort Hood that day. In the area of the attack. Would the situation have been over seconds after it began? Because there are so many variables. It’s hard to say what would have happened. But it might have saved lives. Most of us who carry realize that we walk a narrow line. When faced with a potentially deadly situation. We have to evaluate that situation and know when and how to react. If someone repeatedly insults us to our face and we knock the jerk on his butt. There’s a good chance we will end up with an assult charge and a possible felony conviction. If we drink and drive, or are involved in a domestic dispute. All these things and more will more than likely lead to the suspension and eventual loss of our right to carry. Having the right to carry is a very sobering thing. In most cases, I believe it makes for a more controlled and conscientious citizen.

StJ

November 19th, 2009
8:01 am

Compare Fort Hood to the latest attack on the Maersk Alabama…two completely different outcomes. It should be crystal clear to anyone with a brain that gun control only disarms the intended victim.

The way to stop a “bad guy” with a gun…is a “good guy” with a gun.

Melvin

November 19th, 2009
10:00 am

It all boils back down to the ant-weapon hysteria that has gripped this nation. There are those who put blinders on and constantly cover their eyes and ears, and utter the mantra of, ” no, no, no, no, the bad man will go away if we do nothing.”
This attitude has more to do with political ramifications that actual common sense. Americans are systematically being murdered by armed terrorists, convicted felons, and those who wish just to cause bodily harm to others. And the mantra is still, “No, no, no, no, no the bad man will go away if we just do nothing.”
Another fallacy is that Concealed Weapon Permit Holders could go, “Postal” like ticking time bombs waiting to go off, causing murder and mayhem turning our cities streets into versions of the, OK Corral.
I can only speak for where I live. I am a Concealed Weapons Permit Holder and obtaining this permit is not as simple as walking into my Sheriff’s office and demanding one. I have to take firearm training classes dictate in the implementation and use of deadly force, then future permit holders have to go through a practical application at a shooting range for safety and marksmanship training, then once all this is done, which by the way costs about $150.00. I have take my CWP package and fill out multiple forms with private, and medical information then submit this package to the Sheriff’s office and get finger printed, photo ID, and extensive background check, then after this is done I have to wait while the background check goes even deeper into my personal life I still have to pay and additional $175.00 for all this paperwork to be processed. This is still no a guarantee that I will be approved.
I have just one question for the anti-gun crowd, after being put through all these background checks, classes, medical history pried into, the massive expense which is only good for 5 years and the process begins again, and having my entire life opened up to the government. Due you actually think that I am going to turn the streets into the OK Corral?
If I wanted to cause harm to my fellow Americans I wouldn’t go through all this trouble and expense of exercising my Second Amendment Rights.

Chris Broe

November 19th, 2009
11:17 am

Snub nosing the NRA. A liberal’s lament.

We’re not anti-gun. We’re anti-gunshot. We’re not dead-eye, we’re gun shy. We’re quick on the draw when we dodge the bullet. Our safety is on, our rounds are spent, and our holsters are hung. We’re stray bullet, yet tight grouped. We’re line of sight at point blank range and we’re…..

gads this stinks

Peter Hamm

November 19th, 2009
11:25 am

This video is instructive about the gun matter — Colin Goddard was shot four times at Virginia Tech.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baPgr_tw79Q&feature=channel

Douva

November 19th, 2009
3:45 pm

The ABC 20/20 special “If I Only Had a Gun” was a joke. Fang1944’s account of the episode is inaccurate. You can read an accurate account and review of the episode, as well as more information about the issue of legalizing licensed concealed carry of handguns on college campuses, here:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/16488074/Students-for-Concealed-Carry-on-Campus-SCCC-Handbook (the review of “If I Only Had a Gun” is on page 19).

Douva

November 19th, 2009
4:00 pm

Some of Peter Hamm’s astute comments on the debate over whether or not to legalize the licensed concealed carry of handguns on college campuses can be read here:

http://www.douva.com/sccc/brady_campaign_pr.pdf

XMK2CATX1

November 19th, 2009
4:25 pm

Having been deployed to Iraq twice, and the entirity of the time having carried, ie being required to wear, a firearm and at least one full magazine for the assigned duty weapon. I wouldn’t be adverse to at least NCO’s (Non-Commisioned Officers) at least being asked to wear thier weapons while/during thier duty day. When a Platoon goes to the field for a weeklong or longer training execise at least one person, normall the Platoon Sgt or the LT, will carry thier weapon and a magazine of rounds for thier weapon. Granted, there was the guy in Kuwait prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. How many nut cases want to crack an egg that’s goona explode in thier face. They want to make the most damage as possible with the least resistance. Therefore to grab the biggest headlines, they go to where they know thier intended victims will be UNARMED, ie V.Tech, the Omaha Mall among others. I just wish that the most of the U.S. Citizens would grasp the consept, that the criminals don’t obey the laws, just the average person. Having been an MP at Ft. Hood, among other bases, I know that the average response time is measured in minutes. So what do we tell all the UNARMED soldiers/civilians that died in seconds, sorry, but you lost the inherent right to defend yourself once you entered these gates that are our Nations largest Defense Base? Yes this guy went to a local store and bought at least two pistols, if he haddn’t been able to do that, I am sure that he would’ve gone and possibly subverted his issue weapons somehow, or gotten Black Market Firearms. Bottom Line, this guy is/was crazy and wanted to end his life in as large of a carnage as possible.

retired USAF MSgt

November 20th, 2009
8:36 am

Good article, but let’s take it a little further. Let’s suppose I leave the house this morning with plans to go to the car wash, COSTCO, bank, barbershop and then to a military base to buy groceries. I can’t take my concealed carry weapon because of the military base. This is outrageous, I am trained, have a CC permit, but and can enter all of the above locations except the military base. What do I do — throw my gun in the bushes by the main gate and pick it up on the way out?

nr

November 20th, 2009
4:48 pm

Fang1944 , ABC’s “story” on how students are inept is pure propaganda. If I were to take 10 15 year old kids who had never used an automobile before, strapped them into Formula 1 cars and told them to race the results would be catastrophic.

By ABC’s logic my test would prove that we are incapable of driving and therefore cars should be banned on all school campuses.

I am a student who has a Georgia Firearms License. I carry a loaded pistol daily around Atlanta. I carry everywhere that is legal. According to GA I am capable of defending myself nearly everywhere except for a school campus- I may go into a murderous rampage when I step foot on a pubic campus.

A Bit of Thought

November 21st, 2009
5:32 pm

The Fort Hood massacre could not have happened because Fort Hood is a gun free zone meaning Maj. Hasan could not bring a gun onto the property.

Yeah, Right — IN YOUR DREAMS!

MrLiberty

November 21st, 2009
10:00 pm

These soldiers are killing far more innocent people once deployed.

Maybe a better move would be to disarm them all, bring them all home to defend america, and bring our foreign entanglements to an end.

I know every american would certainly be safer with such a move, and the rest of the world certainly would be.

Matt

November 22nd, 2009
4:38 am

Dude, I don’t even know if you are serious…disarm our troops?LOL I get it you are a comedian. If you are so sure this will work, move to Sweden.Oh, wait- the government there will issue you a rifle and ammo.Well, sure there is some country open to “progressive minded” folks like yourself, but in America, WE OWN GUNS.

antigunners never admit logic and proven facts

November 22nd, 2009
5:33 pm

Look at stats for crime rates of concealed carry holders vs avg citizen. Less likely to commit almost any crime. I only wish more were willing to break an unjust law and carry anywhere that is reasonable (why not colleges? why not churches? You know Va Tech? Dr. Tiller?) The fact is 10s of thousands of people have been carrying regularly for decades and the predicted gunfights in the street HAVE NOT HAPPENED. And they will not. I grew up with guns my whole life as did everyone in the rural area I grew up in. Noone ever committeed a gun crime in my decades living there. So maybe it’s not the guns by themselves? Could it be they really don’t shoot people on their own? Or control the minds of people who own them and force them to go on kill-crazy rampages? I am disappointed that a survivor of a mass shooting would think that more gun control would have or will ever stop mass murders, when in fact they make them much easier to pull off. If a person is the only one with a gun and has sufficient ammo and a degree of skill, they can kill almost endless people, as nobody wants to be in the group that rushes the gunman, knowing he will kill several of you during the attempt. Anyway, I’ll be going back to the rural midwest over Christmas where people keep loaded rifles and shotguns in their vehicles…wow, I will be in much more danger than I am going to GSU in downtown Atlanta, where luckily, guns aren’t allowed (well, at least by law-abiding people). Oh…wait…those aren’t the ones i needed to worry about anyway. Why can’t people understand laws will not prevent any criminals from doing something. You think someone who will rob you at gunpoint or shoot you is afraid of violating a gun law!? BTW, a young woman was shot in the stomach by robbers down the street from me in midtown last night. Wonder if they were GFL holders who suddenly went crazy? I hope they catch the scumbags and she’s okay.

Skip

November 22nd, 2009
8:11 pm

@M1ashot: “Dirty bombs” a figment of Homeland Security Mind.

1. Can’t be scattered bigger than 30yds without tons of conventional explosives.

–2 words “Crop Duster”

2. Nuke elements that are really dangerous are harder to get than hi explosives. They just want to scare Americans with “Dirty Bomb” BS

–Radiological material is commonly available. Check you’re smoke detectors…

3. Bio/ Chem much simpler which Iran has “Poor mans Nuke” Fleas with Plauge as japs used on Chinese.

–Maybe true, but logistics is always an issue. Keeping all of those fleas in an apartment may get slightly annoying.

4. Go get a good education in logic & science- troll

–Received a very expensive one at every tax payers’ expense.

Big DS

November 23rd, 2009
1:12 am

This is a simple open & shut case. Forget 2nd Amendment rights and gun control for a second. If you want to discuss the Virginia Tech case, then by all means do. But this is the military we’re talking about. These are soldiers trained to be proficient with firearms, trained to kill, and to protect the United States of America. For everyone’s safety, they should have sidearms at all times. It is insane to suggest otherwise. Would you ask police officers to respond to crimes completely unarmed having to rely on the SWAT team in case weapons are needed? Soldiers should not have to rely on MP’s for their own safety! MP’s can’t be everywhere all the time, and like civilian police, usually respond to crimes rather than prevent them. And, while the odds are very slim, it isn’t insane to think that a terrorist or other enemies may attack a military base on U.S. soil. It doesn’t happen very often…oh wait…it just did. And look what happened. ARM OUR SOLDIERS!

Another retired AF MSgt

November 30th, 2009
10:53 am

A likely scenario when all at FT Hood (or any military installation) are armed, The bad guy “A” shots a victim. A couple seats down “B” stands and shoots the bad guy “A”, in the back of the room, “C” hearing the commotion sees “B” shoot “A” and levels his M-16 on “B” and fires, in the doorway facing the hall ,”D” turns to see “C” shoot “B”, and fires on “C”, after hearing the gunfire “E thru Z” come running shoot “D” and bust in to the room, the front right corner of the room thinking this is an attack starts firing at “E thru Z”, now we have a full out fire fight. Should everyone be armed, NO. Should there be more identifiable armed security on the installation, and in particular in places of large gatherings, YES!! Everyone on that installation should be detailed to armed security regularly, and should be the most visible troops on the base. You shouldn’t be able to swing a dead cat without hitting an armed “military” security troop. No offense to the civilian “rent a cops”, the young lady at FT Hood was exemplary in her actions (ex military I hear), but the majority of those at my installations around here don’t give me the impression that they can stop a kid on a bike, much less an armed threat. If we don’t protect our own who will?

Pain7

February 26th, 2010
11:29 pm

A couple of comments from other military caught my eye. To the Marine who held up the example of Marines at the birthday ball being the reason we shouldn’t allow our military to carry. The soldiers who were in the area during the shooting were on-duty, i.e. not drunk. I don’t carry when I drink. Your example was irrelevant to this discussion. If the shooting had taken place in the NCO club, your example might have held a bit more validity. And to the AF MSgt, soldiers are trained a bit better than most airmen at handling arms. More than a few of the soldiers on that base are trained in fighting in an urban environment, and all are trained to assess the situation before pulling the trigger. It would be a good idea to have more MPs on the bases, but there is that little issue of two wars being fought right now. Which is why some of your airmen are pulling “in lieu of” missions – doing duties in the war zone that would normally be performed by soldiers or marines.

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4:09 pm

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