By Debbie Gregory.
Should gun restrictions on military bases be eased? In the wake of the horrendous events in Chattanooga last week, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is introducing legislation that would allow troops to carry guns on military facilities.
Johnson, who chairs the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, will offer a proposal that would get rid of regulatory hurdles prohibiting troops from carrying firearms on military installations. He said his legislation would “better protect our military personnel.”
Gun proponents have been calling for the Defense Department to lift its current policy, which allows only security and law enforcement to carry loaded guns on military facilities outside of war zones, since Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan’s shooting spree at Fort Hood, which killed 13 people and wounded more than 30.
“By disarming the Armed Forces, gun-free policies at military facilities have made our men and women in uniform easy targets for terrorist attacks,” Johnson said. ”
Gun rights advocates have criticized the current DOD policy for creating gun-free zones on military bases at a time when servicemembers face increased risks.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) released the following statement, saying, “Long before the Chattanooga attack, we had been working to clarify a post commander’s authority to allow carrying of personal firearms. This year’s National Defense Authorization Act will reflect that work. Together, we will direct the Pentagon to end the disconnect between the threats our warfighters and their families face and the tools they have to defend themselves.”
The two lawmakers said they had been working on including the provision in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) prior to the Chattanooga shooting.
Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, cautioned “over-arming” personnel. He said that security at recruiting centers will be reviewed, but that it was too early to say whether the service will boost protection.
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Should Gun Restrictions on Military Bases be Eased? Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory