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Disarmed: Gun Control on Military Bases (And Why it Must End) | U.S. PATRIOT NEWS & REVIEWS

Disarmed: Gun Control on Military Bases (And Why it Must End)

Ft Hood MemorialHis name is of no consequence; it is the names of the dead we should burn into our memories. On November 5, 2009, he ruthlessly slaughtered 13 people and wounded 30 more. He would have killed more if not for the actions of two police officers who shot him when he exited the building where his rampage began. Afterwards, 146 spent casings were collected inside the building and 68 were collected outside for a total of 214 rounds fired by a man who described himself as a Soldier of Allah and openly admitted his Muslim faith was the reason behind the murders. 214 rounds, all of which were fired from an FN Five-Seven, a handgun chambered in 5.7x28mm, a cartridge designed as a higher terminal performance replacement for the 9x19mm, with a standard 20-round mag. The entire incident lasted about 10 minutes, and as many of you are aware, it took place at Fort Hood. So how did an active shooter cut down 13 people and one unborn child, only two of which were civilians, and injure more than 30 others, uninterrupted, until base civilian police reached the scene? It’s easy when you’ve got a base full of unarmed soldiers.

The Why

Contrary to popular belief, blame for the current gun-free state of military bases across the country cannot be placed squarely on former President Bill Clinton’s shoulders. In February of 1992, Donald J. Atwood, then-deputy secretary of defense, signed Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 5210.56 into effect. You might notice the year – 1992 – signifying Atwood did that while President George H.W. Bush was in office. That’s right, removing firearms from the hands of soldiers while they’re stateside got its start while the elder Bush was president.

DoD Directive 5210.56 states that it’s DoD policy to “limit and control the carrying of firearms by DoD military and civilian personnel.” It goes on to say “DoD personnel regularly engaged in law enforcement or security duties shall be armed.” And while it got its start under George H.W. Bush, it was heavily modified by Bill Clinton in 1993. The changes were, in fact, so extreme they didn’t even bother highlighting altered portions. The result was Army Regulation 190-14, which was signed into effect in March of 1993 – and reinforced in 2011, and now we have a bunch of trained soldiers running around on post with no greater weapon than a sharp wit.

Some soldiers who have been serving for decades say there was never a time service members walked around constantly armed; however, up until 1992 that choice was left up to each base commander. One Army veteran stationed in the South during the Vietnam era was not only allowed but encouraged to carry on post while another soldier who lived on post in the 1980’s often stashed his .30-06 in his barracks locker; it was simply ignored during inspection. Yes, the rules varied, but guns weren’t effectively banned until 1992.

The When and Where

The rash of shootings on bases began immediately after: in June of 1994, an airman killed four people and wounded 23 at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, WA, before being stopped by a security officer; in March of 1995, a civilian Navy employee killed two and then shot himself at Naval Air Systems Command in Arlington, VA; in October of 1995 a soldier killed one person and wounded 18 at Fort Bragg, N.C. The list goes on, with shootings gaining speed as the years pass. Most don’t make the mainstream media, or are a blurb at best, but they do happen. Of course, that’s not to say they never happened before.

ISoldier Weaponn 1973, at Seymour-Johnson Air Force Base, a man killed two and wounded three; his motive was purportedly displeasure at the hospital care his wife had received days earlier. Surely there have been others, but finding evidence of them is difficult, due only partly to the storage of information; it’s mostly due to the lack thereof. Because, you see, before guns were banned on military bases, shootings weren’t nearly as prevalent as they are now. So why don’t we arm service members?

The military seems to have a habit of writing their policies according to the foolishness of the bottom 10%. And while some gun-control supporters accurately state there is a level of immaturity and idiocy that takes place in the barracks – and I challenge you to prove that one false – that doesn’t mean service members shouldn’t be armed while going about their business on base. Just because there is some truth to the collaborative effects of testosterone doesn’t mean guns should be banned. That’s not unlike enacting strict gun control measures on the general population due to the actions of a few morons – oh, wait, that’s happening, too.

Leaving service members unarmed on base turns them into easy targets not only for extremists like the 2009 Fort Hood shooter turned out to be but also for those with hair-trigger tempers, horrifically bad judgment, and murderous tendencies. Trusting soldiers with heavy firepower while they’re deployed and then turning around and informing them they can’t be trusted with a slingshot stateside is a dose of irony you’d think everyone would see. But they don’t.

The Gun Control Facts – Just the Facts

Gun control has been around for quite some time. In 1837, Georgia took a shot at banning handguns, which didn’t get very far before it was ruled unconstitutional and thrown out. And let’s not forget the 1865 attempt by multiple southern states to adopt “black codes” that forbade many things including allowing anyone black to own a firearm. In 1927 Congress banned the mailing of concealed weapons, and, of course, in 1934 the National Firearms Act was passed, enacting strict regulation of guns considered too dangerous for the average American to own. So perhaps it’s really no surprise we’ve landed at this point where gun control is steadily increasing while rights shrink accordingly.

There are practically endless statistics supporting the fact that carrying guns has a suppressive effect on crime rates.

  • Gun CrimeAfter Chicago enacted their handgun ban in 1982, crime spiked by 40%, and police eventually admitted that, despite the handgun ban, a full 96% of firearms-related murders in Chicago were carried out by, you guessed it, handguns.
  • During Washington, D.C.’s, extreme gun ban, the murder rate enjoyed a whopping 73% increase.
  • And if you’d like to leave the country, take a look at the U.K., where the average citizen flat-out cannot get a gun. The U.K. not only has a higher per capita violent crime rate than the U.S. but has the highest of all first-world wealthy nations, except for Australia, which is quite a mess itself.

Conversely, in Texas, where the legal age to carry a concealed handgun became 21 years old for civilians and 18 years old for active duty service members in the mid-1990’s, crime began to drop immediately following the right-to-carry law being recognized. In fact, Texas enjoyed and continues to enjoy a 30% reduction in crime and a 28% lower murder rate than the national average since the day that law went into action. Legal gun owners stop more than twice as many criminals as police each year and also have a less than 2% error rate compared to law enforcement’s 11% error rate. And criminals have a healthy fear of legally-wielded guns, too; 57% of criminals admit avoiding situations where they know someone has a gun. There’s no need to say it, because the numbers make it clear: legally owned handguns are a deterrent to crime.

Those concerned that suicide rates would rise if firearms were more readily available on military bases also don’t know their statistics. According to studies carried out by none other than the Department of Justice and the Pew Research Center, the suicide rate is something else that drops with increased gun rights. The cold, hard truth is that someone determined to commit suicide will find a way, such as the veteran who opted for death-by-police earlier this month. It’s a deeply heartbreaking fact that where there’s a will, there’s a way, and the facts do not support a higher suicide rate coinciding with legal gun ownership and increased concealed carry.

The How

Stopping what is an alarming increase in military base shootings is really quite simple: arm the soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen. Yes, limit it to those with the proper training and credentials, but do it. Doesn’t it make sense to allow those who already possess concealed carry permits to make use of those permits on base? And if there are proficiency concerns, because it’s certainly true military handgun training is on the limited side for most service members, then either increase training across the board or implement the same training requirements for those who wish to carry on base that are required for MPs and other security personnel. There’s no need to suddenly allow guns in the barracks for the aforementioned reasons ascribed to that bottom 10%; simply allow service members living in the barracks to check their weapons out of the armory either during the day or while they’re working. The checkout system wouldn’t be unlike the way a soldier living in the barracks today checks a personal firearm out of the armory to go plinking. That should keep the naysayers at least somewhat pacified.

FirearmIs this a perfect solution? There’s really no such thing as perfect. In a perfect world, a soldier on post here in the States would be allowed to tote their rifle around just like they did in Afghanistan, but heaven forbid we do that. After all, we wouldn’t want civilians to think soldiers use guns; that would be a disaster of epic proportions. In fact, in 1992 the desire for a “more business-like environment” was stated as a motivating factor behind DoD Directive 5210.56.

Here’s the problem with that: The military shouldn’t be business-like; there’s nothing polite about war. The so-called “hearts and minds” campaign being so heavily pushed in recent years is responsible for the maiming, crippling, and deaths of countless service members, and fussing over tattoo regs and tightening the noose of boot requirements just takes attention away from what really matters. We do not have a military because we need thousands of tattoo-free men and women doing paperwork. We have a military because we need defenders, protectors, and fighters, because the threat is real, and danger does lurk around every corner. Our nation has numerous enemies, and if there’s one thing that holds true for bad guys, it’s their lack of playing by the rules. You don’t see homicidal shooters respecting the “no guns on base” rule. And wringing our hands and claiming we don’t know what to do – or blatantly lying by claiming there have only been “a few” military base shootings in the last five years (I counted 17 before stopping and moving on) – isn’t just ridiculous, it’s willful blindness.

[quote_right]”The military shouldn’t be business-like; there’s nothing polite about war.”[/quote_right]Author David Gemmel said “The truth. Men will blind themselves with hot irons, rather than face it.” Here is the truth: shootings of all kinds have significantly, dramatically increased since the on-base gun ban of 1992. The solution is simple: allow open and concealed carry on military bases. It’s not even an over-simplification, its basic logic. It is absolutely, unequivocally true that the only thing that’s going to stop bad guys with guns is making sure our good guys have guns. Just as crime rates drastically drop in areas where concealed carry is allowed, on-base shootings will decrease, and our service members will be safer. The idea that they’re safer at a base in a war zone than on base stateside is a travesty.

Just follow the K.I.S.S. rule: Keep It Simple, Stupid. Guns belong in the hands of soldiers; it’s the way of war, and the way of the military overall. Do you really believe service members should be safer on a base in a war zone than on a base stateside? Give them guns. Give them guns, and be done with it.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Katherine Ainsworth

Katherine is a military and political journalist with a reputation for hard-hitting, no-holds-barred articles. Her career as a writer has immersed her in the military lifestyle and given her unique insights into the various branches of service. She is a firearms aficionado and has years of experience as a K9 SAR handler, and has volunteered with multiple support-our-troops charities for more than a decade. Katherine is passionate about military issues and feels supporting service members should be the top priority for all Americans. Her areas of expertise include the military, politics, history, firearms and canine issues.
Katherine Ainsworth
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16 thoughts on “Disarmed: Gun Control on Military Bases (And Why it Must End)

  1. It seems to be common sense, not just on installations, but anywhere. If law-abiding citizens and soldiers are allowed to be armed, then those who have it in mind to commit crimes would be more mindful of the consequences they could face in turn. Whether you want to examine statistics or review comments made by the criminals themselves, it makes sense that crime, especially violent crime, would be less likely to be committed.
    Then there is also what we have learned through military service…prepare yourself and be vigilant. The enemy prefer striking a soft target, and not someone who is prepared to defend themselves.

  2. It doesn’t make sense that an organization that is highly trained on the lethal use of many different weapons is restricted from carrying them on post. The Fort Hood shootings would not have been as bad as it was and many more Soldiers from Fort Hood would be alive today.

  3. Are You kidding Me? This is typical of the dumb ass regulations this Country has adopted. By all means Our Military Men and Women should be allowed to be armed. This is America right? Do They not have a right to Our Constitutionally allowed protections that They are sworn to defend? This is a no brainer.!! Come on America grow up and grow some balls!! quit allowing the liberal progressive left to lead us down this path of stupidity and self destruction any further!!

  4. Judging by my experience with military personnel, allowing “free carry” would result in more accidental discharge injuries than the shooters have caused. Also, judging by the number of alcohol related incidents requiring MP intervention, I think that restricting firearms carry to job related requirements is a good policy.

    1. The term used to be accidental discharge. Now it is called “negligent discharge”. Reason being is now they put the responsibility on the member. The term negligent in legal terms is defined as ” you should have known, but you didn’t” which is not as bad as reckless which is you knew what could happen but you did it anyway. I believe that it should be put on base commanders on if the members carry or not. I personally feel members should but then you have to look at when they leave the base for lunch or whatever if they are permitted to carry off base which now you are in public and armed. And this day in age with terrorist threats targeting military members in public is a reality. How long before a group of military members on a lunch break off base get attacked by terrorists that have been studying and watching their routine for months. So I believe military members should be aloud to carry but it is something that will take time and will be scrutinized. In regards to alcohol if you are drinking you don’t carry, if you do and have an incident ,well I’m sure the UCMJ will have something for that charge.

  5. I will add: there is no reason soldiers inside their barracks should be disarmed either. There they are even vulnerable to attacks while they sleep!

  6. It’s not just our soldiers and sailors that are disarmed, but also the retired service members who may still work or shop on base. As a group, concealed carry permit holders are more law abiding than the police, yet must disarm in order to go to work or get groceries…they can’t even bring their weapon on base in a locked container. A military with hoplophobia…

  7. “the U.K., where the average citizen flat-out cannot get a gun.”

    That’s actually not the case. The average citizen can’t get a handgun, but rifles and shotguns are pretty common.

    “The U.K. not only has a higher per capita violent crime rate than the U.S”

    The UK has more drunken punches outside the pub at closing time. The USA has way more murders; 4.7 per year per 100,000 people, compared to 1 in the UK. And 0.8 in Germany, which is somewhere between the two on availability of firearms, so there doesn’t really seem to be a correlation.

  8. The lack of guns among our military stems from a fear of the people among our corrupt and useless government as well as our politically correct and pandering career officers. Our leaders lead from the rear with no concept of respect by doing. I spent 26 years enlisted and now try to dissuade any young person from joining up. We need to get rid of effeminate leadership starting at the top.

  9. I believe discussing “correlations”, statistics, etc. is over-complicating things. The logic is simple – if I am attacked, I need to defend myself NOW. Not when the police get there, not when my permit application is approved – NOW! If I see a crime in progress and am at least theoretically in a position to prevent it – I should be able to do it NOW. I do not care what “the public opinion” thinks of this – if someone is willing to die, but remain true to their notion of pacifism and gun-loathing – more power to them, but I am not. For thousands of years of human history, an unarmed man (forgive the sexism here, but history is history) was an oddity, in many times and places throughout the then-world it would not even occur to most people to use the words “man” and “unarmed” in the same sentence. And all of a sudden, within the last 100 years, we are forcibly disarming our citizens. Can any logically-minded person really believe that human beings changed so much more for the worst and became so much more stupid in the last 100 years than they have in the last 5000?! I think not.
    Especially where the military is concerned. What difference does it make whether the soldier is on-base or off-base? He’s a soldier. Weapons are the tools of his trade. The base is one among the places where he works, plying his trade. This is like forbidding the chef to use a knife in the kitchen, except in some heavily protected limited-access nook. Insane.

  10. As evidenced by Chattanooga, I think a lot of military personnel DO carry on base, albeit against regulations. In 20 years of base living, I’ve never been body searched at any checkpoint, although my vehicle has gone through spot checks. Its time to give back our troops their 2nd Amendment rights – has anyone forgotten we’ve been at WAR for 14 years?

  11. Ret. Col. is spot on.
    Maybe SNCO/Field Grade Officers.
    But arming the entire rank structure is just asking for trouble.

  12. Normally I do not learn post on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to take a look at and do so! Your writing style has been amazed me. Thanks, quite great article.

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