There is no doubt that Joshua Watson died a hero. The sailor, stationed at Naval Air Station Pensacola as he trained to become a Navy aviator, was shot multiple times by a wanna-be terrorist and Saudi pilot, but managed to escape the classroom where the shooting took place and alert responders to the location of the attack and who was responsible before succumbing to his injuries.
One thing Joshua Watson couldn’t do was shoot back, and as Fox News reports, his grieving family is now speaking out in support of allowing members of the military to be armed on base.
Appearing on “Fox & Friends” Tuesday with hosts Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade, Watson’s family said that their son was a marksman and they believe the situation would have turned out differently had he been allowed to have a service weapon on the base.
Watson’s father Benjamin explained that his son had called the family the night before the shooting to tell them he was working an overnight shift.
“Sometime early in the morning, after 6 o’clock, we know that he was shot at least five times and then somehow found the strength — bleeding profusely — to make it out the door, hail first responders,” he said. “And, they came up to him and with basically his last breath summoned his courage to give an accurate description of the shooter and his location so they could do their duty.”…
“These men and women are asked to go defend their country overseas or wherever and my brother was an expert marksman. He was captain of the Rifle Team for the Navy. He was well-qualified to have a firearm and defend himself,” Watson’s older brother, Adam, added.
“And, if we’re going to ask these men and women to stand watch for our country, they need the opportunity to defend themselves. This isn’t the first time this [has] happened, and if we don’t change something, it won’t be the last,” he told the “Friends” hosts.
It does seem a little ridiculous to make military bases “gun free zones”, especially when we’ve seen terrorists violate those gun bans in order to take as many lives as possible. From Fort Hood to Naval Air Station Pensacola, murderers have simply ignored the policies, and unarmed members of the military lost their lives as a result.
The Second Amendment Foundation’s Alan Gottlieb also says its time for the policies to change.
“It really does not work,” he told FOX10 News. “Again, what they’ve done is they’ve made our military bases so-called gun-free zones. And all they’ve really become is victim-disarmament zones, and people have no means of defending themselves. And it just doesn’t work. It’s proven it hasn’t worked. It’s really kind of a stupid policy. And I hope Congress changes it.”…
In November 2016, the Department of Defense loosened restrictions on guns, somewhat. The policy allows military personnel – on a case-by-case basis – to carry privately owned guns. It is unclear how many, if any, exemptions have been granted by authorities at NAS Pensacola.
In any case, Gottlieb argued, the measure did not go far enough.
“Unfortunately, most military bases still don’t have the open policy where you can have a firearm to protect yourself on your person on the base,” he said. “It’s changing. I have a feeling this Pensacola situation is going to open up a whole lot more base commanders saying, ‘Yes, you can have a firearm to protect yourself.’”
I’m not quite as optimistic as Alan is, though I hope he’s right and I’m wrong. I’m afraid we’re still going to see too many base commanders stick with the status quo in the name of “public safety,” even though no one is safe when only killers are armed.