Pentagon opposes allowing concealed weapons on bases

The Pentagon is opposed to calls from some lawmakers for troops to be allowed to carry concealed weapons on base after this week's Fort Hood shooting, a defense official said Friday.  

“The Department took a close look at this after the 2009 shooting at Fort Hood and again after the Navy [Yard] shooting, and our position is we do not support arming all personnel on post, camps, stations,” Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said.  

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Army Spc. Ivan Lopez, 34, went on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood on Wednesday that left three dead and 16 injured. Lopez also shot and killed himself.  

Texas Reps. Michael McCaul and John Carter both called for allowing troops to carry concealed weapons in response to the violence.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) echoed their comments at an Army hearing on Thursday, when he said he expects a jihadist threat against U.S. troops at home to increase. 

Warren said the Pentagon opposed the move for various reasons. 

“The first of which is safety,” he said. “Another reason is really the prohibitive cost of the training, the qualification requirements, recertification.  

“The final one is local requirements and other policy requirements, for example the Lautenberg requirement,” he said, referring to a 1996 amendment by the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) that prohibits those convicted of misdemeanor crimes from carrying a weapon.  

“So there are a lot of barriers to this idea, and the Department's position — and we've spelled this out before — is that we do not support it.” 

Warren also said that “patting-down” the almost 100,000 people entering and exiting Fort Hood and other major military installations would be unrealistic, although he said no Pentagon study has been conducted on how much time and money that would require.  

“It's too many people,” he said. 

Soldiers who live in on-base barracks have to store their personal weapons in an arms room with limited access. Those who live in family housing on-base can keep their weapons at home, but they must be registered, and can only be carried around on-base for specific purposes, such as going to a shooting range on-base. 
 
Soldiers living off-base don't have to register their personal weapons unless they plan to bring them on base, such as for storing in the arms room, or to go to the shooting range. 
 
If they do bring personal weapons on base, they are supposed to have them registered, and notify security at the gate that they have a weapon, and gate security is supposed to check to see if the weapon is registered. 
 
This story was updated at 2:17 p.m.