Gohmert withdraws open-carry amendment

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) on Tuesday evening withdrew his amendment to the 2015 national defense authorization that would allow certain military personnel to openly carry firearms on bases.

Gohmert said that Defense Department personnel should be allowed to carry loaded firearms on military bases for their personal protection. But House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) had promised Gohmert that the proposal would be discussed during conference negotiations with the Senate.

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"The amendment he plans on presenting tonight is something that we have not in the committee been able to hold hearings on and to really discuss fully in the committee," McKeon said.

But Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, said that it was not legislatively possible to include a proposal in conference negotiations that was not part of the House bill.

"A colloquy doesn't put something in conference," Smith said. "If there's nothing in the Senate bill, it ain't in conference."

Gohmert said that his amendment was appropriate in light of the shootings at the military base in Fort Hood, Texas.

"My concern had been when we had a second shooting without the administration having done anything after the first Fort Hood shooting, and then we have a second Fort Hood shooting four and a half years later, it made no sense not to do something," Gohmert said.

Under Gohmert's proposal, only military personnel who have passed state-certified gun safety courses, a background check, a psychological evaluation and are not being disciplined by the Armed Forces would qualify to carry guns.

The House will continue its consideration of the 2015 defense authorization through Thursday. Amendment debate is expected to last late into the night on Wednesday.