September 17th, 2013

Gun-free military zones

I’ve been wondering about the history of the restriction of weapons on military bases to MPs. Googling leads to the notion that it was a result of an order by President Clinton in 1993 (see also this).

But that didn’t seem quite right to me. Before that, were members of the military just walking around base with their weapons on their persons? In a war zone, perhaps. But otherwise? I can’t quite picture it.

And sure enough, discussions by those formerly in the military (see this, for example; it’s down right now but I assume will be up shortly; and see also this) indicate the policy did not just begin in 1993 with Clinton, although it may have been tightened up then. And comments such as this one by Oldflyer on the previous thread point out the problems that would probably increasingly ensue if the rules about this were loosened.

There’s a little more info here on the laws concerning firearms on base. But not a whole lot of illumination as to what the remedies would be, now that the Ft. Hood and Navy Yard attacks have made it clear that it’s not all that difficult to get a gun on base and kill a lot of military people if that happens to be your goal.

17 Responses to “Gun-free military zones”

  1. Mr. Frank Says:

    As with sky marshals everyone doesn’t need to be armed. You just need a sprinkling of trained armed people.

  2. neo-neocon Says:

    Mr. Frank:

    I was thinking that, too.

    But unless there were a lot of them it wouldn’t work, would it? It would take quite a while for them to get to the scene. And would that be any better than the MPs they apparently currently have? Would these people be carrying concealed weapons, or openly?

  3. holmes Says:

    Glad you posted on this as I was all too happy to blame it all on Clinton. Now I feel like LIV.

  4. Mr. Frank Says:

    Weapons would be concealed. The idea is the bad guy would not know who was carrying. All the recent big mass murders have been in gun free zones.

  5. Tater Says:

    Served in the military (USAF) from 1977 till 2009. (Started when Carter was brand new and finished with Obama! Not sure which is worse!) During that time only the SPs carried on base. Today we have a bunch of rental cops at the gate with one or two SPs, only the SPs are armed. When I deployed to the first Gulf War, we were all armed and that is true for all the folks deploying now to Afganistan. I personally think we should allow those qualified (which is nearly all of us) to carry pistols. Hell we don’t go around killing each other in war zones, why would we do so here in the states? Irritates the heck out of me, as I have to leave my pistol at home when I go on base (Have a CC permit here in Fla). Just a decade or so ago, I was fully qualified in an F-16 to deliver nuclear weapons (B-61s to be exact) and now they can’t trust me with a pistol? What bull!

    Later

  6. mike Says:

    Tater, Sir,

    Obama is worse, much, much worse.
    Carter only got one term and Reagan was in the wings for 1980 so we had hope.

    Thank you for your service, Sir. I felt a lot safer in those years you were serving than I do now.

  7. Oldflyer Says:

    As I mentioned in the thread below I am a little dubious of opening bases to concealed carry. I know that we trust the same people with much more lethal weapons in war zones, but I expect there are some controls when inside the perimeter. Don’t know the answer to the question. I do doubt that there would be anything like the loss of life on base that we have witnessed over the past couple of years, even if every soul had a firearm on their person.
    Of course back in the day, every Naval Aviator carried a .38 revolver loaded with tracers when flying from the ship. For signalling purposes. Saved a squadron mate who was in the cold water one night. We were issued them when we deployed and were personally responsible for keeping them secured. So, in a carrier air wing, there was at least a hundred or so armed officers.

    We also had an armed Marine detachment aboard; and they were charged to respond to any spot on the ship, day or night, at sea or in port, within a minute or so–with weapons. Not necessarily fully dressed, but fully armed. Duty Officers drilled them regularly at all hours.

    That leads to another point I made below. In the States, base security, except in fairly rare situations, is provided by a rent-a-cop force. Now, some of these may be very good, but I have observed others who are questionable. I believe that any military installation should have an armed, military, quick reaction team.

  8. KLSmith Says:

    The last people who should be forced to give up their second amendment rights are those who put their lives on the line to protect ours.

  9. Ymarsakar Says:

    The primary reason weapons aren’t allowed on base is because the paperwork with unintentional discharges is too much trouble. So it’s easier to slide it under the rug, except at war. Well, when the war front is everywhere, even at home, that makes a difference. Insurgencies don’t follow clear lines of the front and what not.

  10. AM Says:

    Telling people that they have a right to defend their life, but denying them the ability is evil. I’ve served with more than one “super salty guy” who remembers the good old days when the CO kept a pistol in his desk. Heck, even the attic of some of the historic buildings on Fort Knox (long three story red brick) still have the 25 meter small bore range for training marksmanship.

    The idea that a few well armed professionals scattered amongst the rest being an appropriate response is a good start. However, I’d much rather have more dedicated security amateurs available to respond. Generally amateurs shoot better than the NYPD who are considered security “professionals.”

  11. dtrumpet Says:

    It does little to be armed if one does not have the ammunition to go with it. One Marine is saying they could have stopped this much earlier if they had ammunition. Shades of Lebanon.

  12. DirtyJobsGuy Says:

    The Clinton era tightened restrictions due to the post-vietnam problems which included mini-race riots on aircraft carriers. I remember on my NROTC cruise security for ships in port was the Marine at the gate, a Petty officer of the deck with an unloaded 45 (1911 of course) but with a loaded magazine not in the pistol, and if appropriate a nuclear weapons guard with a loaded 45. Bakery trucks and newspaper vans came right up to the ship at the pier. Now a rapid response was always available to put down any incidents, but a madman or terrorist just looking to kill anyone could do a lot of damage.

  13. Ymarsakar Says:

    If the government can’t even protect their own soldiers on home turf, what makes anyone think their government goon squads will be able to protect civilians from terrorists if you give them the power of the Totalitarian State to be?

  14. KLSmith Says:

    Ymarsakar: Don’t doubt them; they’ve already identified the terrorists. First they came for the Tea Party.

  15. Ymarsakar Says:

    I think they actually first came for those living at Waco.

    Meaning, Christians. They started terminating Christians first. Part of the reason the government likes gun control is because they want to hammer those christian right wing militias.

    As for why that is… well, the Left’s militias and cells were hammered rather hard by the FBI and various other anti communist government institutes back when government institutes were still loyal to America. Now that they have control over the same forces, they are using it for a little bit of revenge.

  16. Ymarsakar Says:

    To go back further in time, they came for the abolitionist whites, also Christians, and blacks, also christians, who were slaves.

    Then FDR did the internment camp, confiscating the property of people. It worked out well. There was popular support for that. Meanwhile the South continued the Jim Crow laws when they could no longer own slaves and use it to boost their votes in Congress.

    Now a days, they can get anyone and have a beef against everyone. Immigrants? Sure. Black children of former slaves? Sure. Whites against slavery? Yep, those guys too. Northerners that fought against slavery? Yea. Southerners that betrayed the Democrats to vote Republicans? Those guys will be going into the pit too.

    There’s almost no ethnic group in the US that the Left won’t “get rid of” when you give them enough power.

  17. Roman Says:

    Back in the day, when I was in the USAF, stationed at Osan AB, Korea, the person I replaced gave me a M16 magazine with 18 rounds in it. From time to time, there may be a exercise where you may be issued a M-16, but no ammo. About half of the people had unauthorized ammunition for their weapons. When I rotated back to the CONUS, I passed on my magazine to my replacement. Like many things that happen in our military, we thought a firearm without the means to fire it was pretty stupid. I was a watch supervisor in the Control Tower, but somehow, I didn’t have the judgment to have a working weapon?

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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