The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee is calling for the repeal of limits on guns on military bases.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) on Sunday said lawmakers should lift limits on senior officers' ability to carry weapons on military bases.
During an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” the Texas Republican called for more guns on military bases in light of last week’s shooting at Fort Hood, which left four dead, including shooter Spc. Ivan Lopez. Sixteen others were sounded.
Last week’s shooting — added to the list of previous shootings at military bases, including a 2009 shooting at Fort Hood and last year’s shooting at Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. — “requires a review, a reanalysis of … protection policies,” he said.
“Senior leadership at these bases, officers and enlisted men that you can trust,” should be able to “at least carry” weapons as a way to prevent future shootings, McCaul said.
“That would be a deterrent, No. 1, and No. 2, a way to have a quick response to any shooter.”
McCaul also said he would prefer higher levels of military police on bases, but he does not think that’s feasible under President Obama’s budget, which “takes us back to World War II levels.”
“I think a lot of people don't realize that our military that defends our freedoms abroad, when they come home from the military base, are not allowed to carry weapons,” McCaul said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “Now, I think we need to have a discussion.
“Any time we see soldier on soldier, it's one of the most tragic things we can conceive,” he added. “And if we had senior leadership armed, just maybe they could have stopped it before it got worse.”
McCaul’s statements on Sunday go against statements from military officials who have backed the limits of guns on bases.
During the show, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said he would support allowing more guns on military bases if military officials called for the lifting of those limitations.
“If the military reassess and says that’s the right strategy, then I’m going to support it,” he said.
Kaine said he would question the motives of lifting gun limits on military bases if military officials support those limits.
“For those of us in Congress [to] say, here’s what they should do, I worry whether it would be political rather than about safety and security,” he said.
“The Pentagon's looking at proposals like the one that Congressman McCaul talked about,” White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “They don't think it's a good idea.”
“The president and the first lady send their thoughts and prayers out to the victims and families and everyone on the base. And they're going to actually travel down on Wednesday to the memorials they're running,” Pfeiffer said.
— Kyle Balluck contributed to this report, which was originally published at 9:59 a.m. and last updated at 12:11 a.m.