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Fort Hood and Disarmament

The latest incident at Fort Hood has reanimated the gun control debate, but this time, anti-freedom advocates have a unique handicap.

by
Mike McDaniel

Bio

April 15, 2014 - 11:42 pm
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The latest active shooter attack at Fort Hood, Texas on April 2, 2014 left three dead and 16 wounded.  As is almost always the case, the killer, confronted with armed resistance, choose suicide, ending the rampage.  The Army has released a timeline  that indicates that the attack lasted something over eight minutes, but the timeline fails to note how much time passed between the first shot and the first 911 call, which means the actual time was likely about ten minutes.

This will become significant shortly.  The gun that anti-freedom forces love to demonize, the AR-15 with its standard 30 round magazine, was not involved.  Instead, the killer used only a commonly available .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun.

As all mass attacks do, this one has reanimated the gun control debate, but this time, anti-freedom advocates have a unique handicap.  It may seem counterintuitive and surprising to many, but continental United States military installations are a gun-free anti-gunner’s dream.  They are even more strictly regulated than many schools.  Soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines are nowhere as thoroughly disarmed as they are on American military bases.

The only people allowed to bear arms on military bases are usually military police officers, and then, only during the hours they are actually on duty.  They draw their weapons and ammunition from an armory just before their duty hours begin and turn them in when done.  There are a few exceptions, among them Criminal Investigation Division investigators who may sometimes wear civilian clothing and are authorized to carry concealed weapons even when technically off duty.  Pilots, under certain circumstances, are also allowed to carry weapons as part of their issued equipment.  And officers on duty in missile silos and in other duties where nuclear weapon security are involved are also armed.  However, most members of our military, from the lowliest private to a general commanding a base, are disarmed.

Consider the irony.  A seasoned combat veteran abroad in Iraq or Afghanistan may usually carry their weapon wherever they go, at all  hours.  When they return to the United States, they may obtain a concealed carry permit in the state where they are stationed and carry a handgun most places in that state, but the moment they step on base, they lose not only their Second Amendment rights, but the ability to protect their very lives.  They are less well protected on base in the United States than they were in an active war zone.  In most states, Joe Average Civilian is better protected than our warriors.  At least Joe has a choice.

Military regulations allow gun ownership for those living on base, but their weapons must normally be stored in a military armory and may be removed only to take the gun off base for hunting, shooting, etc. and returned when they return to the base. With few exceptions, such as civilian police officers, no one may bring a privately owned firearm on base.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
"‘When we have these kinds of tragedies on our bases, something's not working,’ Hagel

What is shows is how politically savvy Chuck Hagel. It is not courageous nor truthful, but it is savvy. Hagel knows what is wrong but refuses to say it.

His statement is self serving. It reminds me of the book "Foundation by Isaac Asimov where the protagonist is talking to a diplomat. they analyze another diplomat's words for meaning (content). After they throw out all the fluff, the diplomat said precisely nothing in many, many words.

This is Chuck Hagel has done. You will know him by his actions.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
When my father joined the Army prior to WII officers and staff NCOs were required to carry loaded sidearms. It was more of a traditional symbol of authority than a precautionary measure but they could respond if anything happened. I think the regulation changed after the war. I was surprised to learn that in the immediate aftermath of Vietnam the regulation was reinstated for a short period of time because of the social and drug problems that were prevalent in the military during the mid-1970s.

During his tenure at SACEUR GEN Haig carried a sidearm for his protection. When he was attacked by Badar-Meinhof terrorists in the Netherlands he was out there returning fire in Pattonesque style alongside his security detail. Haig gets criticized for being a political general but as a soldier he was the real deal.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Fort Hood is a huge base, with many workers coming onto the post daily. It is not feasible to thoroughly search everyone that comes in. Those who legally carry firearms outside the base should be allowed to do so on base. There is no reason to believe this will make our military installations less safe, and it is likely to make would-be shooters think twice before attacking.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (36)
All Comments   (36)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
On the other hand, if the US military doesn't even trust its own soldiers to carry arms on base that doesn't bode well for whether or not we should trust the general public to carry arms.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Officers and Senior NCOs should carry a sidearm as part of their duty uniform.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
A loaded sidearm. None of this "no mag in the well or round in the chamber" BS.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Maybe it's time for Governors to require that all incoming members of the National Guard acquire a CCW before being allowed to enlist, and require them to carry while in uniform. If the Fed won't let active and reserve component members protect themselves, at least Guard units can protect themselves.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
In an ideal world Americans, even Liberals, would recognize that our military warriors are the courageous sheepdogs of our society, ready to protect their sheep from the wolves and monsters that lurk at every turn, eagerly seeking helpless prey.

Unfortunately the sheep are now in charge, and they fear the fangs of the sheepdog that they can see, far more than those of the wolf who lurks in the shadows, waiting for unsuspecting prey. The sheep imagine that by defanging the sheepdog, they can make themselves more safe, even though he has never been the real threat.

To rectify its own past stupidity, the military should change its practices:
o Wherever there is a group of military members, at least one senior non-commissioned officer should be properly trained, and should be openly carrying a sidearm, fully loaded and in "Condition One", immediately prepared to engage any threat to the group.
o Any military member, when properly trained and qualified in firearms use and safety, should be authorized to carry a personal sidearm, concealed on his person.
o Training and qualification in personal firearms safety should be a proficiency for which the member should be officially recognized.
A person contemplating an attack on our military, even when at peace, should fear counter-attack both by senior supervisory persons authorized to use deadly force, but also by individuals in the ranks who carry concealed weapons, and are trained and prepared to use them to defend themselves and their comrades.

Faced with determined sheepdogs, the wolves would slink fearfully away, tails between their legs.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Soldiers should not carry concealed weapons. They are soldiers and should carry them openly.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
When discussing an issue such as this, you always have to look at the politics. No doubt people will think I'm talking about anti-gun activists, and they have their part in this, but most of the politics of this don't directly involve them. It's my firm belief that much of this anti-gun policy stems from Pentagon decisions involving soldiers who went nuts and for whatever reason decided to shoot their fellow soldiers, with their military-issued weapons. When such a thing happens, there are all sorts of repercussions, especially for the commanding officer of a base or whatever where such an incident occurs. It could be the end of the officer's career, etc., and that's something the Pentagon usually wants to avoid. None of the active military shooters in recent years have used their military-issued weapon, because it's too hard to get to it and use it for unauthorized purposes.

The solution of course is to ban all unauthorized weapons, on and off base. Soldiers don't need Constitutional Rights, do they?
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
In 1993, the sentries on guard outside our Marine barracks in Beirut, in active war zone with daily combat occurring, were prohibited by their commanders from having loaded weapons, even from having a magazine in place! Only one sentry was able to even fire a shot, when the truck blew past them and destroyed the building they were guarding.
Up to that day, their commanders were proudly able to say that none of the sentries had inadvertently fired his weapon, due to their brilliant precautionary measures.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
If you cannot trust a soldier with a firearm on the base then why would you trust the soldier on deployment?

If you can trust a soldier on deployment with a weapon, then why would you not trust them in the U.S.?
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Have you served, Timoleon? It's not the same thing at all.

By the way, MOST of those in uniform don't carry weapons in a combat theater.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Honestly, I've had Soldiers on deployment that I would rather NOT trust with a firearm. Soldiers, regardless of level of training, are just people too, with all the frailties therein. The reason I suggested the CHL/On-Post class combo above is to separate the ones who are serious about it and will be responsible from those who will look at a personal firearm as another adornment or "bling," to use the colloquial.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
"‘When we have these kinds of tragedies on our bases, something's not working,’ Hagel

What is shows is how politically savvy Chuck Hagel. It is not courageous nor truthful, but it is savvy. Hagel knows what is wrong but refuses to say it.

His statement is self serving. It reminds me of the book "Foundation by Isaac Asimov where the protagonist is talking to a diplomat. they analyze another diplomat's words for meaning (content). After they throw out all the fluff, the diplomat said precisely nothing in many, many words.

This is Chuck Hagel has done. You will know him by his actions.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
A wise man - I forget who - once observed: "When all is said and done, more will be said than done."
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Local politics make any effective increased scrutiny impossible for the majority of US bases. That level of search of personnel and vehicles is time consuming and quickly backs traffic up until all the local streets, highways and even freeways are severely affected. In the San Diego area any time a drill or real-world event prompts even moderatly increased scrutiny the traffic quickly backs up resulting in gridlock and days of complaining (quite rightly) from everyone in the area.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm honestly of two minds on this. On one hand, it really doesn't make sense that we as Soldiers are treated as adults and required to carry our personal weapons at all times in Theater (and in the field), but once we return to CONUS and garrison, we are suddenly no better than children. Having trained Soldiers with weapons on-hand would DEFINITELY discourage (but not totally eliminate) these kinds of mass shootings. In addition, I would argue that Soldiers are better shots than most cops anyway.

On the other hand, I am not so sanguine about the whole thing because I know the kinds of idiotic things that young Soldiers (and some older ones) get up to, and throwing firearms into the mix gives me pause. My solution, such as it is, is one similar to the way motorcycle riders are treated. My idea of requirements for on-post-carry would be two-fold: first, one must own a concealed-carry license for the state the post is in then, having that in-hand, must take and pass an on-post class to prove proficiency and understanding (no more than an 8-hour class). This would help to cover all necessary legal and regulatory bases.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm honestly of two minds on this."

Speaking as a 2nd Amendment absolutist, I have to agree with you. We just don't see the "blood in the streets" horror stories that the gun-grabbers wail about every time some state decides to honor the 2A a bit more. (Or DIShonor it a bit less.)

That's because most people who decide to carry are basically decent, responsible people who live normal lives. There's a bit of self-selection going on, especially in states that require some sort of licensing for concealed carry. If you're the kind who gets drunk regularly, and gets into bar fights, well, you are probably going to have your 2A rights curtailed sooner or later, and probably sooner.

On the other hand, service members come from a broad spectrum of society, but in the enlisted ranks, it's skewed toward the bottom end. There are a lot of people in there who are ONLY in there because they couldn't find a decent job outside. They are, frankly, losers. Low-lifes.

Given the stresses of military life, and the cross-section of society that is there, having all of them suddenly able to freely carry weapons just might not be a great idea. This is one place I'd support some kind of licensing, with training requirements and background checks and screens for current behavior. At least, initially.

Cleaning up the culture of the military, and reinstating a true professional warrior culture, would make those requirements obsolete.


The current situation is unacceptable, but that doesn't mean that the right cure for it is to just immediately allow service members to freely carry weapons. A transition state is needed.

(show less)
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
You hit a lot of nails on the head that I was going to (thanks for saving me the effort :) ). That's why I suggested the CHL/Post Course requirement which would help dramatically to weed out the "undesirables." As I understand it too, the percentage of actual CHL holders who have ever committed gun crimes is vanishingly small. Add that to the proven responsibility of actually going through the (free) process and we could enhance security on-post, with a minimum of additional problems.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is a very good post maybe the best.

"On the other hand, I am not so sanguine about the whole thing because I know the kinds of idiotic things that young Soldiers (and some older ones) get up to"

This is true otherwise there would not be so many adseps. There is a lot of self inflicted drama on base due to infidelity, indebtedness and other things. There there are assessments of people work and that always makes people upset at times.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Keep a hammerin' at the gun free zone thing. For anti gun types it just such an attractive idea that we need to keep rubbing their noses in it until they get it. To give a counter example Texans, who liberals know are as thick as three planks, finally figured out that there was a connection between folks gettin' shot and places where liquor was served. So they passed a law back about the early 90s against carrying guns in bars and shooting deaths noticeably declined. Now I'm a recovering liberal myself so I know how dumb I used to think Texans were, and heck it took them a while to work out Wyatt Erp knew about not mixing guns and firewater, but Lord 'a mercy how dumb does that make the gun free zone crowd.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
[So they passed a law back about the early 90s against carrying guns in bars]
Cite?
The Texas law against carrying handguns anywhere was passed in 1871. The first major revision was the CHL law in 1995, which restricted carry in places which made 51% of their receipts from service of alcohol. So CHL didn't affect carry in bars.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nonsense, when Virginia passed a law allowing concealed carry in bars and restaurants violent acts decreased. Maybe Virginians are smarter than Texans. Come to think of it we are and we also a more firearms friendly state. We have Constitutional open carry as well as restaurant and bar carry.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well if you are a crook in Texas you know that people coming out of a bar may be inebriated, are unarmed and carry cash or credit cards.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
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