Five military service members lay dead in Chattanooga after a gunman, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, opened fire on a recruiting center and a naval reserve center. They’re dead from a lack of shooting back. They’re dead because of longstanding policies that leave stateside military members (except MPs and the like) unarmed and leave our military facilities exposed to terrorist attack.
In 1992 the first Bush administration signed into effect Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 5210.56. This directive sought to “limit and control the carrying of firearms by DoD military and civilian personnel,” and states that only “DoD personnel regularly engaged in law enforcement or security duties shall be armed.” Army Regulation 190-14 was implemented in 1993 and further tightened the carrying of firearms on Army posts. According to the Washington Times this reg forbids “military personnel from carrying their personal firearms and [made] it almost impossible for commanders to issue firearms to soldiers in the U.S. for personal protection.”
If these regs made sense when they were implemented, they sure don’t now. Thirteen years into the “War on Terror” and after seeing the 2009 Fort Hood shootings, the 2009 Little Rock recruiting office shootings, the 2013 Washington Navy Yard shootings, and 2014 Fort Hood shootings it makes no sense that soldiers are better able to defend themselves off duty and off base than on (thanks to right-to-carry laws now in nearly every state) and that many military facilities remain soft targets for terrorists.
Two years ago Marine Corps commandant Gen. Jim Amos proposed arming certain duty and staff NCOs for this very reason. Unfortunately, the DoD didn’t act on the proposal and now there’s four dead Marines in Chattanooga. Perhaps the Chattanooga shootings will be the final straw that will change DoD policy.
Gun Owners of America (GOA) has announced that it is working with several congressmen to introduce legislation to repeal the military gun ban. Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) plans to introduce a bill early next week. Former Marine Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) plans on introducing a bill to allow military recruiters to carry firearms. Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) is working on similar legislation in the Senate.
GOA has set up an action center where you can send a pre-written message to your Representative urging them to cosponsor the DesJarlais and Hunter bills.
Let’s get this ban lifted before more brave service members die in the name of bureaucratic apathy.
Update 7-25-15: Fox News reports that one Navy officer and a Marine at the Chattanooga naval facility may have armed themselves against regulations and in violation of federal law and may have actually killed the Islamic shooter. While these brave men may have cut the shooting spree short, probably saving additional lives, our service members shouldn’t have to jeopardize their careers and law-abiding backgrounds in order to defend themselves and their comrades.