This isn’t an easy topic. I’m a disabled vet and carry for protection of my family and myself. I agree that soldiers should have the right to carry off-duty, as long as they aren’t drinking. I was always combat arms, so what little time we had off usually involved some alcohol. I also think the right to carry should be restricted by rank, E-5, WO-1, and O-1 on up.
How is that any different than an age limit on civilians owning firearms (e.g. 21yrs to by a handgun or semi-auto rifle)?
I know some E3’s/E4’s that I’d trust more with a hand gun than a few O-1’s (and I say that as a former Officer).
Military arms qualifications focus on combat (very different than potential uses outside of war zones), maybe establish a qualification for conceal carry and/or uses in/around non-war zone scenarios and then let them all carry on base in/out of uniform once they qualify??
Also be very strict around the drinking and carrying piece and hammer that home from day one.
The main issue facing this issue is the Base Commander. While they are required to take direction the safety and security of the Base is their responsibility and quite frankly most are not of combat arms and are looking to make Admiral/General or Colonel/Captain.
The age restriction for concealed carry is a good one as is a rank based requirement. E-5 and up, WO-1 as they were prior Senior Enlisted and O-3 (O-1’s are the same as E-3’s with a degree in my eye’s) and up (O-1E as they are also prior enlisted).
21 years old to comply with purchasing a pistol and obtaining a CCW.
Here is where I will throw in something different.
Complete a State Specific Concealed Carry course and have a valid State CCW.
They must also be a member of the Base “Auxiliary Security Force”.
Every base has them as an augment to normal Security (Civilian FED/DOD) and fall under the the guidance of the Military side of the security part (Master at Arms, MP’s and such). There is a certain level of law enforcement training, mental/character evaluation as well as weapon qualifications. These folks have regular military duties as defined by their MOS, NEC etc but are also part of the Base Security watchbill and will carry their assigned duty weapon while on watch(Just like the Reserve and Auxilliary Police forces). While not on “Security Duty” they could carry their personal weapon concealed as long as it did not interfere with uniform regulations or job duties.
What happens when the 19-year-old female E2 gets victimized after shopping at the PX on a Saturday night? It happens with more frequency than the military would like to admit. I do not believe rank should be a deciding factor. I knew plenty of E6’s that had a lot of disciplinary records, and I knew some E1s that were very competent with firearms.
It should be up to the Provost Marshall and should be shall issue unless your disciplinary record shows a reason not to.
While I think military members should be allowed to carry I’m positive it will never happen. Military life comes with some restrictions on personal freedoms among them are 1st and 2nd amendment restrictions, not to mention having your vehicle or bag searched at any time without probable cause.
I agree with you there, the politics at the Base Commander level probably makes this entire post a moot point.
So it sounds like you’re in favor of a national age restriction on gun ownership of 21yrs of age?
If an 18 (and sometimes 17yr old) has the maturity to be able to raise their hand and commit their life to die for our Country, why do we not think they have the maturity (with discipline and training) to carry or buy a weapon? In fact in theater 18yr olds are running around their barracks and chow halls with automatic weapons as well as various side arms. Granted access to alcohol is restricted (although it is still obtained), but we’ve not had any issues with any of those service men/women.
Oh by the way, if you’re going to wait for enlisted to get to E-5, they’ll (on average) be waiting until they’re 25 or older and O-1’s will all be 22/23yrs or older.
Again, if we’re going to put age restrictions on gun ownership, then we need to put those same restrictions for the exact same reasons on voting or even joining the military.
@JamesR I agree with your sentiments but when painting with a broad brush some lines get covered. I do not advocate for a national age restriction but as of now it is current law to purchase (not possess) a personally owned pistol the age is 21 as is the age to lawfully consume alcohol. Not my idea just the law.
I joined the Navy at 17 and carried my first duty weapon (M-16A1) several months before the ripe old age of 18. I had fired 10 WELL controlled rounds at 25 FEET and was deemed “qualified”. I saw my first combat action in Panama in 1988 where I had to horse trade Morphine to a Viet Nam era Ranger to get 50 rounds of .45 and two magazines before I went in country. I could take all the Morphine I wanted as I was a Corpsman but I could not get a mag or ammo for the 1911 they issued me, the reverse was true for the Ranger. 4 of those 50 rounds saved my life. I was a 20 year old E-4, made 2nd Class 4 months later.
I would submit that there is a significant difference between being in a combat zone and being in “Garrison”, to that end carrying concealed and in compliance with state laws requires that one should be in compliance. A military service member regardless of age or rank in the performance of their duties which require them to carry a firearm and have the authority to use it is something the state cannot adjudicate. That is what the UCMJ is for. For a person who is carrying a concealed weapon while on a military installation in EXCESS or COMPATIBLY with their duties should be held to a reasonable standard IAW the State & Federal laws.
This is the sharp edge of this argument/debate. I have raised my hand and am willing to pay the ultimate price for defending my country, yet I am not allowed to buy/carry a pistol, can’t drink and NOW can’t smoke. It seems the more prominent question would be When is the state of ADULTHOOD reached?
As you mentioned the net effect will revert to the Base Commanders. In the Military there must be rules, regulations, permissions and restrictions before Seaman Shmuckatelly is allowed to have anything even vaguely resembling freedom of thought. Just offering a possible palatable scenario to the powers that be that are always watching.
@James I concede your point and counter with “What if it was the 19 y/o Wife of a service member shopping at the PX on a Saturday night?” She has less judicial standing than the service member yet the offense occurred on a military installation and by current laws both would be victims unable to defend themselves with a firearm, LEGALLY.
My age consideration is just in following the laws of today as written, no more, no less.
My rank consideration is an ADJUNCT to the age consideration as well as the additional requirement to be Auxiliary Security Force and having a CWP for carrying a personal concealed weapon on a Federal Installation.
Those nare do well E-6’s would not be members of the AuxSecFor due to their records so that argument is moot. The E-1 that is a great weapons handler STILL must be in compliance with the law either State, Federal or UCMJ.
The crux of this matter while tangentially about personal protection is rooted in response to an immediate threat to the base and it’s inhabitants. The argument of personal protection on a military installation has never had legs. Only now with the prevention of terrorist attacks has the subject even gained a bit of traction.
Lets face it, military installations are the biggest soft targets in the country once you get inside (all the guns point outside). The shooter in FL was stopped by LOCAL PD, not DOD Police or Military Police and it took them what? 7 minutes to respond. (Which is actually pretty damn good if you think about it). The DOD needs to consider multi layered non centric force protection within bases as a requirement rather than an obscure idea or someone will get the memo and this will happen over and over on a large scale.