On April 2, 2014, a second mass shooting occurred at Fort Hood army base in Texas. This is the second such tragedy to occur in the last 5 years on the base. For many, this shooting that took that lives of 4, including the gunman, and wounded 16 others brought back horrible memories of the shooting back in November 2009. Some may even remember the more recent shooting at Washington’s Naval Yard.
A common thread between these 3 events is the fact that soldiers are barred from carrying their own firearms on base with them. In essence, every military base is a gun free zone; in other words, a criminal opportunity zone.
Current DoD policy on firearms on base is as follows:
“The authorization to carry firearms shall be issued only to qualified personnel when there is a reasonable expectation that life or DoD assets will be jeopardized if firearms are not carried. Evaluation of the necessity to carry a firearm shall be made considering this expectation weighed against the possible consequences of accidental or indiscriminate use of firearms. DoD personnel regularly engaged in law enforcement or security duties shall be armed.”
This “reasonable expectation” clause effectively bars all regular military personnel from carrying personal weapons on base. Quite simply put, this is most asinine and condescending.
The United States military is among the most highly trained group of people in the world in the use of firearms. Safe carrying, reloading, accuracy, etc. are all essential parts of weapons training for the military. Troops take this training into combat, but they are prohibited from doing so on base. Why? Who knows.
Does the psyche of a soldier radically change when on base? Not to my knowledge.
Are people more prone to commit mass atrocities where there are larger groups of people? Well maybe if you enable deranged people to enter such places unopposed. Places like Fort Hood.
Yet it is not only our military that is thrown under the bus. Our children in schools are often protected by nothing more than a sign that says “gun free zone” or “weapons prohibited.” The recent mass stabbing at a Pittsburgh area school demonstrates how well such signs work.
Why do we leave our defenders and children defenseless? Well don’t ask me. Ask the government.
We guard our banks with guns. We guard our government offices with guns. We guard our elected officials with guns. We guard our airports with guns.
We guard our military and children with… “weapons prohibited.”
However, now people are starting to wake up and realize that gun free zones simply do not work. Several lawmakers have presented legislation to allow soldiers to carry their personal firearms on base. Senator Rand Paul has even gone as far as to propose arming pilots on aircraft to prevent another attack like 9/11.
Will this measure pass? It remains to be seen. Putting planes aside though, it is simply common sense to allow our troops to carry firearms on base. Hell, let’s even put some veteran in schools as armed security guards! They already have the training to handle these kinds of situations. It would be win-win for both our children and unemployed veterans.
To put it in a few words, let’s allow our defenders to defend themselves.