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SHOULD TROOPS BE ARMED ON BASE?

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Questions Raised After Second Mass Shooting in Five Years
By Harold Hutchison

Does a ban on carrying guns on military bases that has been in place for over 20 years need to be re-considered? That question is being debated in the wake of the second mass shooting at Fort Hood in five years, and the second mass shooting at a military installation in less than a year.

The mass shooting last week (on 2 April), left three people plus the shooter dead, and sixteen others were wounded over the course of fifteen minutes. At the Washington Navy Yard, of 16 September, the shooter killed 12 people and wounded three before responding police killed him after the shooting lasted for roughly an hour. During the 2009 Fort Hood shooting – a terrorist attack not acknowledged as such by the Obama Administration – the shooter killed 13 and wounded 30 in the space of ten minutes.

By contrast, in December 2012, a concealed carry permit holder named Nick Meli halted a shooting at the Clackamas Town Center. Meli leveled a legally-carried Glock pistol at the shooter, who fled the scene and killed himself. Only two other people were killed during that shooting.

Representative Mike McCaul (R-TX), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has called for allowing troops to carry guns while on base if they so choose. “They defend us overseas, yet they’re defenseless at bases,” McCaul told Fox News. “When these things happen … it doesn’t take very long to kill a lot of people.”

The proposal drew opposition from General Ray Odierno, the Army Chief of Staff. “I believe that we have our military police and others that are armed, and I believe that’s appropriate,” Odierno told Politico. “That allows us the level of protection necessary.”

Odierno’s opposition to allowing troops to carry on base was supported by retired Admiral Mike Mullen, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “I’m not one…that would argue for arming anybody that’s on base,” he said on Meet the Press.

Do you think it’s time to ensure our military bases are no longer “gun-free” zones? If so, contact your Senators and Representative at (202)224-3121.