Fort Hood and Disarmament
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.