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Trump’s right — to prevent gun violence, don’t disarm our military


Five years ago, Washingtonians were horrified as a murderer shot and killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard, and left 8 injured.

The soldiers died because they were not allowed to carry firearms to save their lives and kill the murderer.

Nine years ago, at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas, a terrorist killed 14 people, including the unborn child of one victim. Thirty-two were injured. Texas laws allow the concealed carrying of firearms, which created the tragic result that a soldier could carry a gun for defense up to the gates of Fort Hood, yet take not one single step inside the base without being disarmed.

{mosads}As has been the case with school shootings, American soldiers were sitting ducks in the defenseless killing fields known as “gun-free zones,” where criminals, but not the average citizen would be armed. In fact, the Crime Prevention Research Center revealed that 96.2 percent of mass public shootings from 1998 through 2015 occurred in gun free zones.

Another massacre was thwarted in 2011, when an apparent terrorist was caught before his planned assault on soldiers at a restaurant near Fort Hood.

In 2014, yet another murderer took advantage of the gun free zone at Fort Hood, and murdered three and injured 16.

Then there were two shootings at armed forces recruiting centers; one in 2015 where a young man, apparently radicalized, killed five and wounded two in Chattanooga, Tenn., at a U.S. Navy Reserve center and at a nearby recruiting center; he died in a shootout with police. The other was in 2009 where a Islamic radical killed one and wounded one at a recruiting center in Little Rock, Ark.

Why on earth were our military personnel at these locations — each of whom were expertly trained in firearms — denied the right to save their lives and the lives of others? Tragically, it was irresponsible or idealistic regulations promulgated by the administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush that robbed our military personnel of the ability to carry firearms when on base.

Those regulations contributed to the murders.

Following the Navy Yard shooting, I researched these regulations and wrote a bill, H.R. 3199, the “Safe Military Bases Act” for my then-boss, former Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas), to repeal these proven-deadly regulations, so our military personnel would no longer be sitting ducks for terrorists and murderers. Here are key excerpts:

“A Bill to safeguard military and civilian personnel on military bases by repealing bans on military personnel carrying firearms.” (c) Repeal of laws and regulations disarming firearms-Trained military personnel.—

(1) REPEAL.—Effective on the date of the enactment of this Act—

(A) Army Regulation 190–14, issued on March 12, 1993, is repealed; and

(B) Department of Defense Directive Number 5210.56, issued on November 1, 2001, as modified on January 24, 2002, and by any subsequent modification, is repealed.”

This legislation remains the common sense correction to prevent another Navy Yard or Fort Hood massacre, as President Trump echoed in his speech to the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), where he called for ending the ban on military personnel carrying firearms:

“You know the five great soldiers from four years ago, three of them were world-class marksmen. They were on a military base in a gun-free zone. They were asked to check their guns quite far away. And a maniac walked in, guns blazing, killed all of five of them. He wouldn’t of had a chance if these world-class marksmen had — on a military base — access to their guns. And I’m going to look at that whole policy on military bases. If we can’t have — (applause) — all five were killed. All five. The guy wouldn’t have had a chance.

“But we’re going to look at that whole military base, gun-free zone.  If we can’t have our military holding guns, it’s pretty bad. We had a number of instances on military bases. You know that. So we want to protect our military. We want to make our military stronger and better than it’s ever been before. (Applause.)”

The president is right; it’s time to repeal these disastrous regulations to save lives. One of the mistakes during the Parkland, Fla., school shooting was the lack of any armed security officers within the school who could have killed the shooter.

Congress should lead the way and pass the “Safe Military Bases Act” for the president’s signature, and President Trump can immediately repeal the regulations listed in the ‘Safe Military Bases Act,’ and work with Congress to allow military personnel to legally own and transport firearms to and from their base in gun-controlled jurisdictions.

Once our military personnel can again carry firearms on their bases, future terrorists and murderers would meet a quick end if they tried to attack our soldiers. The same lesson would apply if all schools had armed guards to protect our children.

Art Harman is the director of the Coalition to Save Manned Space Exploration and served as the legislative director and space advisor for Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) in the 113th Congress. He is an expert on foreign affairs, border security, space and other key issues. Harman studied foreign policy at the Institute of World Politics.

Tags Bill Clinton Concealed carry in the United States Donald Trump Licenses Military base Politics School shooting Self-defense Steve Stockman United States United States firearms law

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