Why are Our Servicemen and Officers Kept Unarmed and Helpless?

Opinion

Donald Trump – Second Amendment

Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- One of the promises President Trump made in 2015 interview with AmmoLand News, is he would review the policy of keeping service members disarmed on our military bases and recruiting centers.

“As Commander-in-Chief, I would mandate that soldiers remain armed and on alert at our military bases. President Clinton never should have passed a ban on soldiers being able to protect themselves on bases. America’s Armed Forces will be armed. They will be able to defend themselves against terrorists. Our brave soldiers should not be at risk because of policy created by civilian leadership. Political correctness has no place in this debate.”

And again in 2019 from military.com:

President Donald Trump said Friday that he would review policies that keep troops from carrying personal weapons onto military bases.

“If we can't have our military holding guns, it's pretty bad,” Trump said in a wide-ranging speech to the annual Conservative Political Action Committee conference in Maryland, “and I'm going to look at that whole policy on military bases.”

The recent case in Florida shows how useful it would have been for our military officers to be armed with handguns in case of an attack.

The murderous Jihadi was armed with a handgun.

From foxnews.com:

Watson’s father Benjamin told USA Today that his son was the officer on deck at the time of the shooting and sustained at least five gunshot wounds before being able to make it out to relay important information about the shooter before succumbing to his injuries.

“Heavily wounded, he made his way out to flag down first responders and gave an accurate description of the shooter,” he told the outlet. “He died serving his country.”

Watson, a rifle team captain, was reportedly sent to NAS two weeks before the shooting for flight training.

Watson, as a rifle team captain, would have been proficient with a pistol. Our servicemen should not be routinely disarmed on our military bases, when we are, essentially, under attack by a dispersed and deadly ideological enemy.

The brass in the military have treated the idea of allowing service members to be armed on base with disdain.  They served President Trump with a “reform” which changed very little. An effete culture has crept into the military, with the idea service members, especially officers, should dislike carrying weapons, especially pistols, and should find it rather distasteful and beneath them.

This needs to be reversed. Here are two ways it could be done.

First, the direct approach:

Order, as Commander, that every commissioned and non commissioned officer shall be armed as a part of their duties unless an individual exception is granted by their commanding officer. The Commanding officer shall explain and justify why the officer is exempted from being armed at particular points, times, and places. Officers are expected to be armed at all times while in uniform.

Officers are to be encouraged to own their personal sidearms for this purpose. A list of approved sidearms could be maintained, starting with sidearms already in service. Some effort should be taken to give officers a wide variety of choices. Choosing and paying for an officer's own sidearm goes a long way to encourage familiarity and being armed. Checking arms into and out of armories is time-consuming, expensive and unnecessary.

Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) who routinely go armed will have 1 point added to their annual evaluation report.  Officers who score expert with pistol shall have another point added to their evaluation report. Annual qualification with pistol scores will be included on the evaluation report.

The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) has been upheld by the courts as a valid exercise of federal power. Every state, to my knowledge, has an exception to their restrictive gun laws, acknowledging the right of military members on active duty to be armed.

Second, the indirect, voluntary approach, from an earlier article:

 Commanders in the military are responsible for their troops.  Many are under the age of 21. Commanders, in some ways, are father figures that have enormous responsibilities and power.

As Commander in Chief, President Trump can require military commanders to respect the Second Amendment, but give them guidance and goals to allow them to exercise their judgment and  enhance their authority while doing so.

He could require programs be set up to allow for the exercise of Second Amendment rights, in concert with the requirements of military discipline.

Soldiers could be expected to earn the ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights for protection of themselves and their unarmed comrades, in peacetime.  The right to do so could be taken away for cause, just as rank can be taken away for cause.

The requirements to carry could include passing an objective written test about the use of deadly force, and a shooting test that would be no more stringent than officers are required to pass to qualify with a pistol.

Military members would know that any shots fired by them would be investigated. Carry under these circumstances could be made a part of their official duties. They would be subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice for any infractions. Because they would be under military discipline, they could carry in any part of United States territory under that authority.

Safeguards should be put in place to  insure that Commanders do not play administrative games to avoid this duty to the Republic and the Constitution.

These circumstances would be similar to those of states with shall issue concealed carry laws. People who have taken the time and trouble to obtain a carry permit have proven to be extremely law abiding. There is little reason to believe that soldiers under military discipline would be less responsible.

Members of the military give up some of their rights in order to serve.

A combination of these two approaches could be used.

Having a significant number of our service members armed would prevent them from being sitting ducks in the current disarmed victim zones known as our military bases.

We are confronted with an implacable, ideological foe. Our service members should be capable of and encouraged to defend themselves and others.


About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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OldJarhead03
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OldJarhead03

Yup, it makes total sense. We trust troops, officers, and NCO’s with automatic weapons, crew served weapons, assorted grenades, and explosives, but pistols for self defense are a no-no.
DMFSOB’s in charge WILL approve BOHICA every time.

RoyD
Member
RoyD

A bit of history. I blew into Germany in October of 1973. After being assigned to 9th Ordnance Co at Miesau, Germany I learned the ropes. One of those “ropes” was what you were not allowed to have on your person. I am not exaggerating one bit when I tell you that it was a full sheet of typing paper with the items listed one after another separated only by a comma. A full sheet of paper! This was supposedly put into effect after “disturbances” at several bases in Germany in the preceding years. I like everybody else read the… Read more »

Stag
Member
Stag

They remain disarmed because that’s what government like to do to people. Trump doesn’t care about our rights and he’s proven that by his enacting and support of more gun control.

Will
Member
Will

@Stag,what gun control has President Trump enacted?

RoyD
Member
RoyD

By virtue of the fact that the BATFE works for him, he “enacted” the bumpstock ban.

Gerry
Member
Gerry

No, period. Can’t be done. The notion that soldiers and sailors should go around armed is absurd on its face. We don’t train them to do so in garrison – meaning, back at their home bases and forts. The commander of every unit is required to, among a myriad of things like maintaining the readiness of the unit to accomplish their mission, maintain “good order and discipline” among the troops. That is probably the hardest part of their job. It means getting the troops to behave themselves, and for all the heroics our men and women display on the battlefield,… Read more »

RoyD
Member
RoyD

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Exhibit “A”.

Commiefornia Sucks
Member
Commiefornia Sucks

I also present Exhibit A, ladies and gentlemen.

9042306393
Member
9042306393

Congratulations Gerry you have been feminized!

Arny
Member
Arny

I thought the article referred to officers ? And when I served we performed guard duty with a service weapon. It was unloaded. The ammo was in the guard shed in the can. Granted it would have taken a while to retrieve if needed. I never did like that if something were to happen. I was also the company armorer. For which we had to sign the ammo out & in. I can see your point with arming early entries or troubled service members till they get the training or help they need. So maybe a rank & qualification standard… Read more »

Arny
Member
Arny

Officers & NCOs

mlhtd51
Member
mlhtd51

“GUN FREE ZONES”, Disarming the good guys doesn’t stop the bad guys, Plastic signs don’t stop bad guys. Criminals never choose a fair fight. They gang up on isolated victims. Disarmed citizens are easy prey.
We have 23 thousand + gun-control regulations today. Those laws are disarming the good guys who obey the law, and they don’t disarm the bad guys who ignore the law.

Dragonfly
Member
Dragonfly

I made a similar comment in an article a few days ago. Officers and NCOs should be directed to carry, concealed or otherwise. The poster’s comment below about encouraging use of personal weapons is valid. It would alleviate hassle of checking a sidearm out of the armory or MP Orderly Room. The SecDef takes his orders from President Trump. A Presidential Directive should be able to rectify the “discretion” apparently given base commanders on how personal firearms are allowed on base, stored, etc. and carried for base security. When I was at Ft. McPherson, GA we checked out 1911’s and… Read more »

RoyD
Member
RoyD

I remember during Basic Training at Ft Ord in the summer of ’73 the Drill Sergeant pulling night duty carried a 1911. And we got to carry axe handles during our 2 hour roving patrols around the company areas at night. It gets cold at night during the summer at Ft Ord.

Rowboat
Member
Rowboat

The duties of both the military and police is to “ serve and protect “. They both take the same Oath to defend us from All enemies, foreign and domestic. We are allowing these foreign enemies to BECOME domestic enemies, while taking away the TOOLS to defend against them, As a retired LEO, we had to requalify with our duty weapon every 6 months or we were out of a job. This could be a requirement of the military as well, after all the bottom line of ALL branches of the military IS guns and the use of force! In… Read more »

9042306393
Member
9042306393

Well said Rowboat!

JDC
Member
JDC

Passing national CCW reciprocity would help this effort a lot.

JDC
Member
JDC

Excellent article. Some thoughts from a 30 yr Vet. My last tour of duty, I ran an NROTC unit at a Big 10 university training Navy and Marine Corps officers. Only 30% of them had ever held a gun, let alone fired one. I set up a training and certification program, because many of the Navy folks were reporting to ships in the Gulf right after graduation and would be leading “Visit, Board, Search and Seize” (VBSS) missions on ships shortly thereafter. The training program was a success…even our nurses learned how to shoot and firearm safety. So, you have… Read more »

Perry
Member
Perry

There were a couple mistakes in the article. Military bases have been functionally gun free zones since at least the Regan era, and from what I have been told even back to Viet Nam. Second Trump did change the policy so that individual.base commanders could authorize persons to be armed, however the culture of the military is that personnel can only be trusted with weapons and ammunition in very limited situations. Essentially unless the POTUS mandates all personnel on bases be armed, the military will still mandate bases be gun free zones.

willyd
Member
willyd

Perry; The bases that I was stationed at were all basic gun free, if you owned a private gun it had to be registered and checked into the company armory just like your military weapon. Most bases would let you carry but it is to the base commander’s discretion if it can be allowed, which most choose not to allow!!!! this was way back and that was 1969.

Arny
Member
Arny

You went on guard weapon free ? I was a comp. armorer. We issued weapons for guard duty. Ammo was issued in a can. A whopping 7 rounds. (This was Front Gate guard duty.) Signed off on at turn of each guard. NCO of the day. Once company was done performing guard duty ammo was accounted for & turned back in. I would imagine most people had no idea our weapons were empty. But they were visible. Unless you worked there or someone had a big mouth. This was Germany 1989-90.

9042306393
Member
9042306393

The 1994 gun free zone legislation has killed many people

gregs
Member
gregs

excellent job dean. posting here will surely do nothing. send an email through
http://www.whitehouse.gov and tell the president to do what he said and do it now before anymore of our service members are murdered remember ft. hood?

willyd
Member
willyd

So true, bad part about Ft Hood is that the person who ended that didn’t kill the SOB only crippled him and we get to support him for the rest of his useless life, bring on pork and bread and water!!!!!!!!!

RoyD
Member
RoyD

Don’t stop there, call your US Congressman and Senators and tell them what you think.

Greg
Member
Greg

Allowing CCW permits on military bases would be a quick easy solution. They already have thousands of personal firearms stored in family quarters. Over 5000 of these homes are on Fort Bragg. Many with firearms in them. I was told in a group briefing at Fort Bragg years ago by a JAG officer that the Post did not allow CCW permits because it was Federal property and CCWs were state issued licenses! No such thing as a Federal CCW! Additionally, Fort Bragg honored state driving licenses, marriage certificates, medical licences, dental licences, state teaching licenses, contractor licenses, and business licenses… Read more »

Dubi Loo
Member
Dubi Loo

Great article with actual proposed solutions Dean. I’m curious why you chose to limit carrying to Officers and NCO’s. Why not include the Grunts?

Luke
Member
Luke

Look into the policy of the military and army especially on LEOSA. they try to limit civilian police officers as well as military members who are legally allowed to carry under leosa. They also charge these individuals $150 for LEOSA credentials even though these same individuals will carry a weapon each day they are on duty to protect the lives of those they serve in different installations around the world. It makes no sense. The military needs to stop treating members like children and allow them to protect themselves and others should the time call for it.

james
Member
james

Another weak link in the security of our bases, all somebody needs is a few police vehicles or imitation vehicles and uniforms to gain access to the bases…
“you have an active shooter, 911 call are ringing off the hook” OK your clear.

james
Member
james

I just do not understand why outside law enforcement gains access to our military base when our military police are on site.

nrringlee
Member
nrringlee

Speaking as someone who returned from Viet Nam to a completely dysfunctional military here stateside I give you the answer. Gun fighters fight wars. Rock painters and sand rakers, zero defects types run the show back home and during extended times of peace. When there is little to no gun fighting to do the rock painters and sand rakers take over. Over time the gun fighters fade. Rock painters and sand rakers thrive in zero defects environments. That is what we face now. Who cares if your troops can fight or shoot? What is important is that they can name… Read more »

joefoam
Member
joefoam

Military personnel are trained professionals, what kind of idiot would endorse a policy of ‘gun free zone’. You can bet that if all the military were armed at all times this type of event would never occur.

RoyD
Member
RoyD

You are most likely correct about “this type of event”; however, there would be “other” types of events. In the end it is a cost/benefit analysis.

O. L. James III
Member
O. L. James III

In July, 2015, Texas Governor Greg Abbott directed the Texas Military Forces (TMF) Adjutant General to arm TMF members.
https://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2015/07/18/abbott-orders-texas-national-guard-to-carry-guns-at-military-facilities/
https://www.expressnews.com/news/local/article/Abbott-orders-Texas-Guard-to-carry-weapons-6392980.php

This took the form of the Adjutant General issuing a policy/directive clarifying that persons holding a Texas License To Carry (then Concealed Handgun License), or a license from a state with which Texas has reciprocity, could carry on Texas Military Forces facilities. TMF members can carry concealed in accordance with the uniform regulations of their respective services. Civilians can carry concealed or openly. As a retired service member, I visit Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, often. I carry openly when I do.
https://tmd.texas.gov/Data/Sites/1/media/tmdpolicies/2015/december/17dec/jftx-p15-08personally-owned-firearms-policy.pdf
https://tmd.texas.gov/Data/Sites/1/media/tmdpolicies/2018/tmdd-5210_01-privately-owned-firearms.pdf

JaysGone
Member
JaysGone

Only a complete idiot Commander would deny an officer of the armed services a weapon while on duty.
They are called the “Armed Service” are they not???

RoyD
Member
RoyD

I knew a few personally who had no business carrying a firearm, rifle or handgun.

Grigori
Member
Grigori

Great article with many excellent ideas, Dean! I would love to see this happen. It is inexcusable that facilities for our “Armed” Forces are in reality, Gun Free Zones.

That said, given how Trump has failed to deliver on his promises to protect our Second Anendment, as well as Nationwide Reciprocity, I don’t have high hopes that he will rectify this situation. From what I have seen thus far, Trump is all hat and no cattle.

Finnky
Member
Finnky

@Grigori – Far better to get no action than the (possibly) competent evil offered by democrat party candidates. There are those who say selecting the least of all evils is still surrender – but I say that everything in life is a compromise whether it’s engineering, budgeting or politics. With all compromise, there are also lines one cannot cross.

Deplorable Bill
Member
Deplorable Bill

When I signed up, Carter was wossy…ops, president. During his watch the Iran hostage crisis happened and this was partially empowered by Carter’s views toward Israel. America was learning the hard way about terrorism. There were those of us who bought private firearms and ammo and carried on base which was against the rules to say the least. This was risking an article 15 or courts martial. Yes, some of us got caught. When on guard duty and only issued blanks there were those of us who had a magazine or three on their person. The threat was vastly increased… Read more »

ALL GUN LAWS ARE INFRINGEMENTS
Member
ALL GUN LAWS ARE INFRINGEMENTS

Trump may not know much about guns or understand true #2a but, he is 1000% better than the Dem Communist party that wants to confiscate!

And not voting or voting turd party is voting for the other peep. So Vote! Vote Absentee from ur living room…its easy.

ALL GUN LAWS ARE INFRINGEMENTS
Member
ALL GUN LAWS ARE INFRINGEMENTS

I agree…but, the 1st time a butter bar ND’s that will go away real fast…..

ALL GUN LAWS ARE INFRINGEMENTS
Member
ALL GUN LAWS ARE INFRINGEMENTS

1st lets stop allowing the people responsible for 911 from coming here..buying guns..and getting aircraft training….have we gone nuts…or has the GOOBERMENT GONE NUTS! YES!

Does Israel provide training to Terrorist & Terrorist Funding Countries! Hell No!

Phil in TX
Member
Phil in TX

There has been no mention of which Muslim sect the shooter was part of. It is most likely that he was a Wahabbi. These folks are the ones really running Saudi Arabia and they are extremely radical, but they are in stealth mode. They don’t advertise their intentions until it is over an of course by then it is too late. AGLAI is 100% correct in that we should not be training these terrorists to do ANYTHING related to the military. And yes, the Govt. has gone nuts!
Phil in TX

Ansel Hazen
Member
Ansel Hazen

Dean, Trump hasn’t done much for gun rights at all. Maybe now that some in the military have been murdered he’ll wake up and realize he’s been worrying a little too much about the rest of the world and not doing his job back home.

RoyD
Member
RoyD

So, how many times do you think we will discuss how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? I seem to remember an inaugural parade or two that had military members carrying rifles without bolts in them. I could be mistaken about the latter.

Mack
Member
Mack

I agree with this!