I made a mistake.
When I wrote about Five Fast Gun Reforms President Trump Will Sign Into Law the day after the 2016 Presidential election, I made the assumption that we’d have to wait until Donald Trump was actually inaugurated in January for things to start to change. Instead, the first item on the list is already going into effect without the President-Elect having to lift a finger.
Following Trump’s victory, the Pentagon has quickly issued a “clarification” regarding domestic military bases being “gun free zones,” that they’ve oddly been working on for almost all of Barack Obama’s presidency.
U.S. military personnel can now request to carry concealed handguns for protection at government facilities, according to new Defense Department directive issued last week in response to a series of deadly shootings over the last seven years.
While service members already were authorized to carry weapons as part of specific job responsibilities, the new policy allows them to apply to carry their privately owned firearms “for personal protection not associated with the performance of official duties,” the directive says.
It also clarifies when military recruiters can be armed, said Army Maj. Jamie Davis, a Defense Department spokesman.
“Commanders have always had that authority to arm recruiters,” Davis told Military Times on Monday. “Some of the wording wasn’t very clear, so they’ve gone through and cleaned it up so it is very clear now that the commanders have that authority to use at their discretion.”
Effective Nov. 18, the directive culminates years of work, Davis said.
The effort began after the 2009 shooting at Fort Hood in Texas, where former Army Maj. N___ H___* killed 13 people and wounded more than 30 others. It accelerated after the July 2015 attacks on a recruiting station and Navy reserve center in Chattanooga, Tennessee. That incident claimed the lives of four Marines and a sailor. Both lone-wolf attacks were believed to be inspired by international terrorism.
In April 2014, Spc. I___ L___* killed three soldiers at Fort Hood and wounded 12 others after an argument. L___ killed himself when confronted by a military police officer.
The updated policy spells out when troops can carry government-issued weapons as part of their official duty and when they can carry their own firearms for protection. The directive does not apply to troops in war zones or members of the National Guard who are not working in a federal status.
It’s interesting that a simple “clarification” from the Pentagon has taken three years longer to write than it took George R.R. Martin to write A Game of Thrones and two follow-up novels (A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords). You’d almost get the impression that the Pentagon took maybe a couple of days to write the clarification, then had anti-gun flunkies from the Obama Administration quash it for seven long years, leaving servicemen defenseless for the the 2014 Fort Hood attack and the 2015 Chattanooga terror attacks.
Now that Obama is the lamest of lame ducks, however, and his heir-apparent Hillary Clinton was smacked down at the ballot box, it seems that the Pentagon sees little political risk in going ahead and implementing a policy that President-Elect Trump had already promised to implement as soon as he takes office, and that’s a wonderful thing for the safety of our troops.
* Bearing Arms does not publish the names of mass or spree killers.