In the aftermath of last week’s shooting that claimed three victims at Naval Air Station Pensacola, questions are being raised anew about the wisdom—or absence of it—of prohibiting the ability of military personnel, on a military base, from carrying firearms.
The same questions were raised in the aftermath of two shootings at Ft. Hood, Texas in 2009 and again in 2014. The more notorious of those was the 2009 incident in which Major Nidal Hasan gunned down 13 people and wounded more than 30 others with a legally-purchased handgun. In the other incident, Specialist Ivan Lopez killed three people before turning the gun on himself.
According to WALA, the actions of dead Pensacola gunman Mohammed Alshamrani have re-kindled the debate about guns on bases.
Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and founder of the Second Amendment Foundation weighed in, contending that the “gun-free zone” designation is essentially a deadly myth.
“It really does not work,” Gottlieb told a reporter. “Again, what they’ve done is they’ve made our military bases so-called gun-free zones. And all they’ve really become is victim-disarmament zones, and people have no means of defending themselves. And it just doesn’t work. It’s proven it hasn’t worked. It’s really kind of a stupid policy. And I hope Congress changes it.”
Last year, President Donald Trump indicated during remarks at the Conservative Political Action Committee meeting that he might be inclined to “look at the whole policy on military bases,” the WALA report said. He is, after all, the Commander-in-Chief.
The disarmament policy dates back to 1992 during the first Bush administration. But in the wake of shootings over the past decade, it may be time to re-think that policy. After all, say some critics, if soldiers are trusted with fully-automatic weapons while serving in foreign country combat zones, why shouldn’t they be armed here at home?
Contending that there is no danger of an attack on a domestic military base after Fort Hood and Pensacola is going to be a tough sale.
More than three years ago, the Defense Department did relax restrictions on firearms on bases, but it’s not clear how that has actually worked out.
Gottlieb told Fox10 News, “Unfortunately, most military bases still don’t have the open policy where you can have a firearm to protect yourself on your person on the base. It’s changing. I have a feeling this Pensacola situation is going to open up a whole lot more base commanders saying, ‘Yes, you can have a firearm to protect yourself.’”
At least one anti-gun presidential candidate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, went on social media to declare, “Not even our military bases are safe from gun violence. I’m heartsick for the victims and their families. We must end this epidemic and protect the lives of our service members.”