A new policy change announced by Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska has gun owners, military members, and Second Amendment supporters up in arms. According to a Facebook post, the base will ban the transportation of legally owned firearms on the base beginning in in the new year.
The decision has been met with a storm of criticism by those most affected. KETV in Nebraska shared a few of the responses.
“This is craziness. Are you going to pat down and car search every person who comes on base? ‘Cause the wrong person can bring a gun anyway and now a smaller portion of the good guys can defend themselves. Thanks a lot!,” one commenter wrote.
“So the people who live on base can’t conceal carry ever then? How are they going to get their privately owned weapon from their house, to off base where they can legally carry it?” another asked.
The new policy was announced on December 30th, and takes effect on January 2nd, 2020, which doesn’t give concealed carry holders and legal gun owners much time to adapt to the restrictions. There are hundreds of comments on Offutt’s Facebook post announcing the decision, and while I haven’t read them all, I’ve yet to run across any comment in support of the move. Instead, active duty airmen, military spouses, and others are all objecting to the new gun ban. Here’s a sample:
“When the policy was changed to allow you to transport your fire arm on base, I’m glad I ran right out and paid to take the CCW class and then pay the license fee to the state. Only to have that same policy overturned less than a year later. No reason to have the permit now since most of my time is spent on base.”
“My husband is active duty and we live a good twenty minutes from the base. This highly discourages me from wanting to attend any base events or work functions for my husband. I cannot believe i have to leave my firearm at home. I am unprotected from the time I travel to and from the base. The idea of it makes me feel exposed. I do not leave without it. I feel obligated to give myself that chance to protect my family.”
“This is totally asinine. CCL holders were finally giving permission to bring firearm on base and keep in housing. Now this? Stupid stupid decision. This does NOT keep the airmen safer, it does the opposite. We are targets, let us protect ourselves if we choose.”
“The wing commander is looking at the exact wrong group of people if he is concerned about mishandling of firearms, or firearms in the hands of potentially dangerous people. Those with a permit/license to carry a concealed handgun have been background checked by the state which issues the permit/license. I’m not going to chalk this decision up to politics. I’m going to chalk it up to risk aversion by the new wing commander, who is probably taking risk management to the nth degree. I’ll be curious to hear of any other decisions undertaken on the basis of risk management that target the wrong thing in an effort to push ‘safety’.”
As many of the folks commenting noted, the attack at Naval Air Station Pensacola took place in a military mandated “gun free zone,” and there are legitimate concerns that this policy will only put the active duty military and civilian employees on base at risk if an attack occurs there.
I hate to see the base commander take this step that jeopardizes the personal security of the many concealed carry holders who will now be left defenseless on their way to and from work. I’m not hopeful that the hundreds of people speaking out will make much of a difference, but I’m glad to see so many using their voice to protest the policy that will leave them disarmed and defenseless.