The problems with military's gun control initiative

(AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)

The United States military has some funny rules about guns on bases. They’ll hand a 19-year-old kid a full-auto M-249, but you’re not allowed to keep your Glock 19 in your car while at work. Sure, the kid has to give the gun back at the end of the range day, but still, he’s got enough time to do a lot of damage if he wanted.

Now, the armed forces are looking to combat the growing problem of troop suicide. To do that, the kinder, gentler military has a plan, and it’s as idiotic as you think it would be.

It has been suggested that American service members be subject to gun control laws to make it more difficult for them to commit suicide by themselves by a Pentagon advisory panel set up to help address a suicide crisis in the US military.

According to a plan presented on Friday by the Pentagon’s suicide prevention committee, all soldiers over the age of 25 would be prohibited from purchasing firearms on US bases and would have to wait seven days before doing so.

The group demanded a waiting period on ammunition sales and the creation of a database to monitor firearms purchases made on US military property, which would necessitate the repeal of legislation that Congress passed in 2013 that forbade such actions.

According to panellist Craig Bryan, an expert in safety at Ohio State University, “there’s arguably only one thing that all researchers agree on when we look at the science of suicide prevention.” “And that one thing is that the single most effective method for saving lives is to take steps to slow down convenient access to highly lethal weapons like firearms.”

First, I have feelings about so-called experts on “gun violence.”

I have to admit, though, this isn’t remotely making me rethink those feelings, because this is the height of idiocy.

Why? Because this only applies to purchases of guns made on base. It does nothing about guns bought and sold out in town or between individual personnel. As such, even if it worked as advertised–and I suspect it won’t, but the military was sold a bill of goods by anti-gun “researchers”–it will just shift where those purchases take place or mean they have to pause before killing themselves.

Of course, many feel that the pause will prevent countless deaths, but I’m not actually so sure. After all, we have lists of warning signs of suicide. That means it’s not necessarily an impulsive act, but one typically planned out in advance.

In that case, a waiting period isn’t that useful.

Then there’s the idea of creating a database of gun purchases. Why? What good would that do to prevent suicides in the first place? It’s not like some 21-year-old soldier who plans to kill himself is really going to worry if his name shows up in a database.

So why is there a push for waiting periods by these so-called experts? I think it’s a kind of survivorship bias. They find out that some people didn’t kill themselves because they had to pause and think that’s the answer. Meanwhile, they ignore the many people who don’t. (I still don’t get the database thing, though. That makes no sense if suicide is, indeed, what this is supposed to be about, though I don’t think it is.)

None of this, it should be noted, addresses the fact that these soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines are hurting. They’re hurting so badly they want to die and they want to die in such alarming numbers that the military has to address the problem. Rather than address the pain, though, they follow the leftist playbook and go after the guns.

Typical, I’m afraid.

At the end of the day, though, this isn’t the answer. The answer is to get in and look at what the hell is going on with our military and figure out why these young men and women are wanting to kill themselves, then ask what we can do about it.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the direction our military has decided to go and we shouldn’t be surprised when that doesn’t work.