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President Trump to Review Ban on Military Personnel Carrying Firearms

One of the Second Amendment themes Candidate Donald Trump campaigned on was that military personnel should not be made into disarmed and helpless victims.

President Trump said on Friday, 23 February,  he would be reviewing the current policies about military personnel carrying personal defensive firearms. From

President Donald Trump said Friday that he would review policies that keep troops from carrying personal weapons onto military bases.

“If we can’t have our military holding guns, it’s pretty bad,” Trump said in a wide-ranging speech to the annual Conservative Political Action Committee conference in Maryland, “and I’m going to look at that whole policy on military bases.”

“So we want to protect our military. We want to make our military stronger and better than it’s ever been,” Trump continued in the speech, in which he also renewed his call for allowing trained teachers and military retirees to carry concealed weapons in schools.

When I joined the U.S. Army on active service, I had been competing in university pistol competitions for four years.  I knew more about pistol shooting and the civilian use of deadly force than my non-commissioned officer instructors. But, as a commissioned officer, I was not allowed to carry a personal firearm for self-defense… unless I was acting, as an additional duty, as a military game warden.

It stuck me as a ludicrous example of hypocrisy and a direct contradiction of my sworn oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, that I, as a trained military officer, was not allowed to carry a firearm for self-defense.

Military personnel voluntarily give up some rights when entering the military. They are under the command of their officers. They are subject to inspection for their health and welfare. They must, within limits, do what they are told and go where they are ordered.  They are not required to disobey illegal orders, but they put their career on the line and risk severe punishment, if, on review, the order turns out not to have been illegal. They are limited in their First Amendment rights.

President Trump is on the correct track. The military should protect its members, allow them to protect themselves, and show that military commanders support the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights, as they are sworn to do.

Commanders in the military are responsible for their troops.  Many are under the age of 21. Commanders, in some ways, are father figures that have enormous responsibilities and power.

As Commander in Chief, President Trump can require military commanders to respect the Second Amendment, but give them guidance and goals to allow them to exercise their judgment and  enhance their authority while doing so.

He could require that programs be set up to allow for the exercise of Second Amendment rights, in concert with the requirements of military discipline.

Soldiers could be expected to earn the ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights for protection of themselves and their unarmed comrades, in peacetime.  The right to do so could be taken away for cause, just as rank can be taken away for cause.

The requirements to carry could include passing an objective written test about the use of deadly force, and a shooting test that would be no more stringent than officers are required to pass to qualify with a pistol.

Military members would know that any shots fired by them would be investigated. Carry under these circumstances could be made a part of their official duties. They would be subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice for any infractions. Because they would be under military discipline, they could carry in any part of United States territory under that authority.

Safeguards should be put in place to  insure that Commanders do not play administrative games to avoid this duty to the Republic and the Constitution.

These circumstances would be similar to those of states with shall issue concealed carry laws. People who have taken the time and trouble to obtain a carry permit have proven to be extremely law abiding. There is little reason to believe that soldiers under military discipline would be less responsible.

Members of the military give up some of their rights in order to serve.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Gun Watch



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