By David Cole
USA –-(Ammoland.com)- You would think that the idea of going and shooting up an American military base would be a real “mission impossible,” wouldn’t you?
Anyone brazen enough to walk into a military base and start shooting would be met with withering return fire from America’s warriors, right?
Unfortunately, recent (and not, so, recent) history reveals the truth…that our military installations are just another example of the mythical “gun free zone,” and while on their grounds, our warriors have been reduced to disarmed targets.
The original directive disarming warriors was issued under then-President George H.W. Bush, as DoD Directive 5210.56, “Use of Deadly Force and the Carrying of Firearms by DoD Personnel Engaged in Law Enforcement and Security Duties.” While this directive does not directly prohibit the carry of personal firearms by military personnel, it does so by exclusion, in that it specifies the situations where a service member may go armed…and personal protection is not one of them.
I can understand the reluctance to “turn soldiers loose” with weapons. I was an Army officer, and served as commander of a PATRIOT missile battery. Commanders like to be in control, and for good reason. As commander, you are responsible to your boss for everything your unit does or fails to do. As a former commander, I’ve seen soldiers do some dumb stuff…and my boss held me accountable for all of it. One of your soldiers mishandles a gun and blows a hole in his foot, you’ll be in front of your commander explaining what happened and why. So I understand the reluctance to entrust troops with firearms without “adult supervision.”
I do not, however, agree with it.
Soldiers are not children. If you want them to behave as responsible adults, you should treat them as such. It seemed to be a common lingo during my time in command for leaders to refer to their soldiers as their “kids”…at least in some units. Not in mine. One of my platoon leaders once commented to me that he needed to go down to the motor pool to check on his “kids.” We had a “one-way counseling session” right there on the spot, and he never referred to soldiers as kids again.
Allow me to be blunt here: To disarm our warriors is wrong. Period. We spend millions to train them not just to use weapons, but to teach them when and when not to use them. They deal not just with the mechanical operation of weapons, but with complex Rules of Engagement (ROE) every day. They are the best, most professional military in the world…yet to allow them to go armed for personal defense is too risky? While there are an estimated 8 million civilian concealed carry license holders in the United States, accidents involving firearms are at an all-time low. Studies show that crimes committed by civilian concealed carry licensees account for less than 1% of total crime.
Our military service members are people with lives and families, and they are vulnerable to violent crime just like anyone else. While our unit was deployed to Korea in 1994, the wife of one of my fellow officers was home alone when a man tried to break in their bathroom window…in military housing on base. She was not permitted to have a gun for self-defense. I do not believe…not for one second…that our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines are less safe or less responsible than the average concealed carry holder. Their families are no less worthy of protection.
To treat them as such is an obscenity. Military regulations leaving warriors disarmed need to be eliminated…now.
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