December 8, 2021

Anti-Gun Activists Have Turned Our Military Bases Into Soft Targets For Killers


Anti-Gun Activists Have Turned Our Military Bases Into Soft Targets For Killers

Fort Hood seems worlds away from Sandy Hook Elementary, but they a have couple of things in common: Both have been victims recently of horrific mass killings, and neither allows their people to carry guns.

Critics of gun-free zones reply that is not a coincidence. With the after effects of Wednesday’s killings at Fort Hood, the 2nd in the past five years, calls are mounting for our armed forces to permit base personnel to carry weapons.

Rep. Steve Stockman, Texas Republican, renewed his effort last week for House members to support his bill, H.R. 3199, “The Safe Military Bases Act,” which would repeal the ban on bringing weapons on base. Currently only base security personnel are permitted to carry arms in most cases.

“This is the third mass shooting on a military base in five years, and it’s because our trained soldiers aren’t allowed to carry defensive weapons,” said Mr. Stockman in a statement. “Anti-gun activists have turned our military bases into soft targets for killers.”

Fort Hood was scarred by tragedy for the second time when Spc. Ivan Lopez, 34, killed three and wounded 16 after opening fire Wednesday with a .45-caliber pistol he smuggled onto the base. He took his own life after being confronted by an armed security officer.

Rep. Roger Williams, Texas Republicans, whose district includes the base in Killeen, Texas, told the Burleson [Texas] Star that the gunman might have been stopped sooner had more people on the base been allowed to carry weapons.

“If they had been armed, they probably could have stopped this action, said Mr. Williams. “These are the most highly trained people we have with weapons. They are returning from overseas war zones. They shouldn’t have to return to their homes – on our military bases – and face a war zone.”

Military bases becoming increasingly popular targets for shootings, but so far the Pentagon has stood firm on its policy limiting who may carry weapons on base.

After Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan shot and killed 13 people at Fort Hood in 2009, the Defense Department examined its policies on concealed carry, and again after the deadly September shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, said Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Damien Pickart.

“DoD does not support arming all personnel. We hold this position for many reasons,” said Mr. Pickart in an email. “Some of the top reasons are safety concerns, the prohibitive costs of use-of-force and weapons training, qualification costs, and compliance with various weapons screening laws (for example, the Lautenberg Amendment).”

“However, DoD guidance does provide flexibility to Component and Installation Commanders to arm additional personnel based on necessity as long as they can meet the requirements of Department of Defense Directive 5210.56,” said Mr. Pickart.

That directive states that arming military personnel with firearms “shall be limited and controlled.”

“Qualified personnel shall be armed when required for assigned duties and there is reasonable expectation that DoD installations, property, or personnel lives or DoD assets will be jeopardized if personnel are not armed,” says the directive.

Steven Bucci, former commander of the Army 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces, and now with the Heritage Foundation, said he sees problems with allowing military or civilian personnel to carry firearms on base.

“I just get very concerned about some of these comments,” said Mr. Bucci. “Fort Hood is the size of a small city. There are all kinds of people there—do you really want everyone around there carrying a weapon? And trust me, I’m a big Second Amendment advocate.”

Mr. Bucci added that military installations “probably have less crime than anywhere else, but when you do have something happen, it’s pretty spectacular.”

Even so, Rep. Michael McCaul, the Texas Republican who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, told FoxNews that he wants to “revisit this procedure, this policy, to see if we should arm them so they can better protect themselves.”

“Al Qaeda and terrorists, jihadists, are targeting our military bases—that is a fact,” said Mr. McCaul in the Thursday interview.

Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, said during Thursday’s press conference with Lt. Gen. Mark Milley at Fort Hood that he’s confident “there will be a thorough review of that policy, and the military will make the best judgment of what it needs to protect people on base.”

“I respect Gen. Milley’s position; I respect the importance of doing that thorough review to see if there are any gaps or any things that need to be corrected in future policies,” said Mr. Cornyn.

The November 2009 Fort Hood massacre remains the deadliest shooting on a U.S. military base. Hasan shot and killed 13 people and wounded 32 in what he later described as an Islamic terrorist mission, although federal authorities termed it an act of “workplace violence.”

Hasan was sentenced to death by a military jury in August.