Military Gun-Free Zones and the Ill-Logic of the Left

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Mon, Jul 20 - 9:00 am EST | 3 years ago by
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Lines of Departure - Gun-free zones

I don’t know if there’s anything that illustrates the boundless stupidity, dishonesty, and sheer wickedness of most of the American left quite as well as does gun control.1 How stupid does one have to be to fail to note the close correlation between mass shootings and “gun-free zones” or the inverse correlation between mass shootings and NRA conventions and gun shows? How dishonest does one have to be to ban rifles with bayonet lugs, based on the incalculable number of drive by bayonetings we have in our cities, incalculable because non-existent? How wicked a soul and diseased a brain must one have to want to disarm the elderly and women, thus leaving them vulnerable to stronger young males bent on crime, who don’t need arms to rob and rape and kill the physically disarmed? How dishonest, how stupid, how wicked to insist that a military installation is not a gun-free zone, because they’ve got all those guns…locked up…and chained…in arms rooms…without any ammunition to hand?2

Sorry, lefties, but all the inoperable and locked up guns in the world, all the guns in the world without ammunition to hand, do not make a gun-free zone something else.

We’ve had an idiotic policy of making our military bases victim assembly areas since 1993, though the directive was issued in 1992.3 Since that time we’ve had several mass shootings on military installations. A list of the incidents and innocent victims would include:4

  • March, 1995, Naval Air Systems Command, Arlington, VA, two innocent dead
  • October, 1995, Fort Bragg, NC, one killed, eighteen wounded
  • June, 2009, A recruiting station, Little Rock, AR, one killed, one wounded
  • November, 2009, Fort Hood, thirteen killed, thirty-two wounded
  • March, 2013, Quantico, VA, two dead
  • September 2013, Navy Yard, Washington, DC, twelve killed, four wounded
  • April 2014, Fort Hood, Texas (again), three killed, sixteen wounded

A few days past, we had another one, this time with four United States Marines and an American sailor butchered on the altar of perverse lefty pieties, and liberal policy gone mad, stupid, blind, and dumb.5


Sometimes rules are meant to be broken. Whatever the policy, in days long past, there was a tacit understanding that a) even if licensed for concealed carry, one would not ordinarily do so on duty and in uniform, while b) ammunition issued but not expended must be turned in and not held in personal possession. In Panama, in the early eighties, the lieutenants and sergeants used to ignore both of those rules, regularly, breaking custom in one way, and regulations and law in the other. Captains on up were probably aware we were doing that, but wisely chose to ignore it.

Why and how did we do it? Some of us obtained private pistols, usually but not always a .45, and Republic of Panama concealed carry permits. In this particular, if in no other, we agreed, “Panama es soberana en la Zona del Canal.”6 Others simply retained a little rifle ammunition – twenty-eight rounds, usually – to put in a special magazine. Both were kept out of sight while, with regard to loaded magazines for our rifles, they were “hundred mile an hour” taped over the top, with a folded pull tab, and kept in a pocket rather than an ammunition pouch, to prevent a deadly mistake in training. The why was that we were in a politically unstable and even radicalized country, with a high crime rate. In other words, our rifles and machine guns were a lot more valuable to any number of locals than our troops’ lives were, while giving them up, if threatened or attacked, was dangerous to a lot of people. So, basically, leaders said “screw the rules” and armed themselves to defend our troops and their arms.

Now contemplate those eight incidents listed above. In no case, not one, despite previous mass shootings, did a military leader apparently have the courage to say, “screw the rules, my troops lives are more valuable than pleasing a jam of lefty tarts and political appointee hacks who care nothing about them anyway.”


There have been previous attempts, in Congress, to overturn the Department of Defense’s creation of victim assembly areas on our military bases. They always seem to die, stillborn. A new effort has been in the works for a while. Since this latest atrocity, in Chattanooga, it may even pass.7

It won’t matter in the slightest.

Why? Look at the words in the amendment in footnote 6:

The Secretary of Defense, taking into consideration the views of senior leadership of military installations in the United States, shall establish a process by which the commander of a military installation in the United States may authorize a member of the Armed Forces who is assigned to duty at the installation to carry a concealed personal firearm on the installation if the commander determines it to be necessary as a personal- or force-protection measure.

Note carefully that “views of senior leadership.” These are people, for the most part, filtered to have the minimum feasible willingness to take a risk. Note carefully that “may authorize.” That means it’s optional. Note, finally, that despite a string of massacres no general or admiral was willing to fall on his sword, bend a reg, and authorize the means to defend his men and women.

What that means is that a commander who does authorize it is betting his career prospects that nothing bad will happen as a result, indeed, that nothing bad will happen that can be mischaracterized as a result by the most integrity-challenged lefty or journalist or politician (Lord, forgive us our redundancies). Conversely, if there is another Nidalesque massacre? Well, that was just a criminal act for which the commander bears no responsibility, especially since he’s doing all he can to ensure that his installation remains a gun-free zone in the best tradition of pious liberal idiocy.


Suggestions? Number one: We should File Thirteen – that’s the small and usually round file that sits on the floor – this optional crap, changing the wording to something like that prevailing in most states for civilians not half so well trained in the use of firearms and force: “Commanders shall authorize…” Yes, yes, I know it’s a radical proposition, having a little faith in the troops and treating them as something other than children, but, ya know, since we do, after all, entrust them with arms in war…

Secondly, to give that “shall authorize” a bit more tooth, I might recommend changing the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Article 110, Improper Hazarding of a Vessel to Improper Hazarding of a Vessel, a Command or the Members of a Command, and including in the elements of the offense that it shall establish a prima facie case of negligent omission that troops of the command were denied the right to bear arms in their own defense. It might be well, too, to amend the article or public law to reflect that imminent danger must, these days, be presumed.

Thirdly, since we’re becoming more like the Republic of Panama every day, it might also be well to issue a directive that soldiers, every time they are issued arms, shall be accompanied by leaders bearing either their own firearms and ammunition, or shall be issued full magazines of ammunition, duly taped for safety, to defend their charges.

Can’t you just imagine the exploding heads?


1 There are some exceptions…and speaking of exceptions, oh, hi, Eric.

2 The folks over at New Republic, for example, don’t seem to see the difference between a “gun-free zone” and a non-gun free zone, because cops exist and carry arms. Idiots; ALL “gun-free zones” allow police to carry.

3 Righties want to blame Clinton; lefties want to blame Bush I. There is, however, plenty of blame to go around.



6 It was an anti-gringo song down there. But, since the Carter-Torrijos Treaty did make Panama sovereign, we figured our Panamanian CCWs were good enough.


Tom Kratman is a retired infantry lieutenant colonel, recovering attorney, and science fiction and military fiction writer. His latest novel, The Rods and the Axe, is available from for $9.99 for the Kindle version, or $25 for the hardback. A political refugee and defector from the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, he makes his home in Blacksburg, Virginia. He holds the non-exclusive military and foreign affairs portfolio for EveryJoe. Tom’s books can be ordered through

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  • Ming the Merciless

    What was the “problem” that the February 1992 directive was intended to “solve”? Did something “bad” happen on a base in 1991 that I’ve forgotten about? A mutiny of preverts somewhere?

    • Tom Kratman

      So far as I know, it was just instinctive liberalism.

    • KenWats

      We’d have to figure a way around the Lautenberg stuff as well, no? SSG Jones got charged with domestic violence by his ex/now can’t carry.

    • Tom Kratman

      Then I think he’s out anyway. That’s unconstitutional as hell, IMNSHO, in any instance where it operates as an ex post facto law. When I was still in practice my law partners and I let it be known in our county and the several around that if any law enforcement or military type, to include guard and reserve, lost their job over Lautenberg we’d take on their case completely pro bono.

    • KenWats

      Interesting. I remember it causing problems when I was in. I seem to recall a couple of guys being non-deployable over it. For my legal education, “Ex-Post Facto Law” means making something illegal after the fact, yes?

    • Tom Kratman

      Or changing the penatly substantially, after the event. In this case, it’s particularly bad because of the frequency wives used the court system to punish an innocent husband, and the husband went along with a guilty plea because he needed to get back to work and couldn’t afford a major legal battle anyway.

  • Iron Spartan

    I have been a said for a long time that ALL leaders, NCO and Officers, should be REQUIRED to be armed at all times. I am willing to make exceptions for Chaplains Corp and certain medical personal.

    If a person cannot handle the responsibility of being armed in public, then they likely cannot handle the responsibility of leading troops in a combat environment.

    • Tom Kratman

      NCOs, officers, and SCHOOL TEACHERS. Indeed, somebody or other, some hack writer, I think, once dedicated a book:

      For the very brave teacher, Victoria Soto, who should

      have had a gun to balance her big brass balls, as she

      placed her body between death and her little ones.

      And for her principal, Dawn Hochsprung, who

      charged bare-handed to the rescue, when she ought

      to have been armed with more than fi ghting spirit.

      As long as our country has such women,

      hope is not lost.

    • Dan Kemp

      Some hack writer indeed. I see what you did there.

    • julie.buffin
    • Neil

      All of a sudden, there seems to be a lot of dust in the room. Well done, sir, well done indeed.

    • nancyd.coulson
  • john miller

    It seems odd to me that the very people charged with making life and death decisions in the defense of this nation are denied/prevented from being able to do so in defense of themselves and their comrades in (un)arms.

    • Tom Kratman

      Personally, I thought the 20th century was about as shitty as a given 100 year period could get. I admit it; I lacked imagination.

    • john miller

      Personally, I think the 14th century could give anyone a run for their money for the title of shittiest 100 year period. Bad as the 20th was, it did include flush toilets and chili cheese fries.

    • Tom Kratman

      Surely those are weighty factors, the chili cheese fries. But think upon how we shall miss them, once Nanny Bloomberg has his way, and they are outlawed. Thus, even those were a trap that casts the 20th century in a bad light.

  • Dufy

    Not trying
    to be impertinent or anything, but I have to wonder about that 1992 Directive.
    I was in from 1984-2004, and an MP since 89. I do not remember the rules
    changing. I distinctly remember the rules from the 80′s. Sounds like a case of
    formalizing what was already rule. I do know that Commanders can authorize
    weapons being carried, as long as it is in accordance with FM 22-6 Guard Duty.
    I do know that the issue is responsibility. No Commander can authorize someone
    to carry outside of that Commanders Area of Responsibility.

    That we
    should allow Senior NCO’s who have Conceal Carry Permits to carry might well be
    a good idea, but would probably require a change top AR 190-14, but only to
    extend that authority to Commanders, or maybe not, even 190-14 lets Field grade
    officers authorize conceal carry.

    But there
    have to be controls, although I think with a little modification, FM 22-6 and
    AR 190-14 allow open and concealed carry. It does require a change in the
    mindset of senior officers. But trust me, since Fort Hood, several Commanders
    have tried to get authorization for someone in their area to be armed. The
    issue arises with 22-6 and AR 190-14. It extends to weapons security rules and
    so forth. MP’s and DA Police Officers draw weapons at the beginning of shift
    and turn them in at the end of shift. You cannot carry G weapon in a Personnel
    vehicle without written authorization, nor bring a Personally owned weapon onto
    post except to and from the POW range. And honestly, 20 years in the army, there
    were a lot of Fucktards I would not want with a weapon unless they were closely
    monitored by a Team leader or Squad leader.

    But yeah, it
    is time. I honestly remember in 80’s at Fort Bliss that the Marine Equivalent
    of SDNCO in the Marine Barracks being armed with .45’s when on duty in the
    barracks. And with the requirements for recruiters just to get the job, there
    is no reason they should not be armed if qualified to be armed.

    • Tom Kratman

      When I first went in, in 74, it wasn’t an issue or, at least, didn’t seem to be. Troops carried firearms on post, often enough pistols, in their cars regularly. What was probably going on, though, was that certainly testesterone-challenged flag officers didn’t permit it on their installations, lest the doubleplusungood of a negative comment strike their OERs, while others did.

      Now there was much more restrcitive rules about posession in barracks, as in, “No effin’ way; keep them in the arms room.”

    • Duffy

      Which makes me wonder if the rule did not perculate up the Chain of Comman when certain Officers were promoted up the Ladder (When i was GC at Fort Fudgepack, I wrote into the Post Regulations …)

    • MichaelZWilliamson

      I kept mine in the arms room. Quite a few others kept sidearms in the barracks. Most of us had knives.

      Despite entire tanker loads of alcohol and occasional knuckle dusts, I am not aware of a single presentation of a weapon in the duration.
      But had a hostile entered that hallway, he’d have been shredded meat inside of 20 seconds.

    • Dan Kemp

      I would be lying if I said I had not seen the occasional pair of idiots drunkenly trying to play catch with large unsheathed knives on barracks Saturdays.

  • Ray

    It is absolutely a shame that I have ready access to a firearm at work and our service men and women do not.
    Also, Dean Melberg at Fairchild Air Force base on 6/20/94, revenge shooting for being discharged for psychiatric reasons.

    • Tom Kratman

      I don’t think you’ll get much of an argument.

  • Dan Kemp

    I am torn between the instinct to have all officers and NCOs armed 24/7 and the inevitable problems that are going to come up. Weapons storage and ammo draw. Weapons and ammo return. A lot of DA regs that intersect this are going to have to be redone to get senior leader buy-in.

    Then comes MAJ Dumbass leaving his pistol in the PX latrine after downloading. SSG Tentpeg who goes for a shot and puts one into the bad guy and fourteen across the parking lot into the housing area because he sucks. Maybe I just work too many active duty ranges in my day job, but there are a lot of really craptastic pistol shots in uniform. Then again LAPD and NYPD haven’t covered themselves in accolades for marksmanship lately either.

    There’s got to be some extra certification involved- 16 out of 30 with 45 rounds available on the standard pop-up pistol course isn’t going to cut it for a lot of these folks.

    • Tom Kratman

      Dan, the typical pistol fight takes place at under 15 feet. You need to act, then, and be able to act; marksmanship is not so important.

    • Dan Kemp

      Yep, 15 to 21 feet is a historic constant as long as the FBI has been keeping statistics. I just think of some of the weak links I see on the ranges and think there needs to be either a revamping of the way we do pistol (we need that anyway) or a last thumbs-up thumbs-down before everyone in certain pay grades gets told to carry.

    • Tom Kratman

      Pistols..lemme tell ya about being fucking humiliated with a pistol.

      I’m a pretty competent shot. No Jerry Miculek, of course, but competent. I did a pistol and SMG course with SWC in 03 and was, as expected, still pretty competent. My partner for the exercise had never so much as held a pistol in his life. He was a medical type and had never held a pistol IN HIS LIFE. AND HE COULDN’T MISS. COULD. NOT. MISS!!!!

      Me: “Ummm…what the fuck do you do in the medical field?”
      Hmmm: “I’m a neurosurgeon…”

    • Dan Kemp

      Hand eye coordination is a huge piece of it, and obviously he had that down.

      Now speaking of people in uniform that one does not wish to shoot against for money, if you are ever near Fort Jackson, stay the hell away from a SSG Sally Talbot. Fuel handler by MOS, which is one reason she’s still a SSG- very hard to make E-7. But she’s got one of the only President’s Hundred tabs walking around outside of AMU or a couple niche Reserve units. One of my old PL’s introduced us- she was his tac NCO at West Point some years back.

    • Tom Kratman

      I had the Army’s silver medal pistol chick in my battalion. Never even _thought_ about shooting against her.

    • Dan Kemp

      I understand we have a young female lieutenant somewhere in the Division with a couple NCAA national championship shooting titles, but my schedule and her unit’s range usage have not yet intersected.

    • PavePusher

      See my solution, above.

      As for your objections…. They should all be seen in multitudes in the civilian world. But aren’t.

      Don’t swallow the Anti-gun lies and hypotheticals that don’t come true.

    • Dan Kemp

      Pave, my day job is on the small arms ranges at Fort Campbell and I’m a life member of the NRA. My raising some concerns with arming everybody RFN are not based on any form of anti-gun belief system. It’s based on the fact I watch active duty personnel shoot four days a week, and a lot of them just suck for several institutional reasons. And of the weapons systems, the pistol is definitely the weak link because it is the lowest battlefield priority. The training base for it just isn’t there outside of SOF units and people who are clearly hobbyists off duty.

      The notion of going for a civilian handgun carry permit self-selects for a certain motivation and skill that is not there by simply telling every officer (commissioned, warrant, and non) in the force structure “You’re carrying pistols now.”

    • Tom Kratman

      That may be true, but failure to get qualified and licensed to defend the men (and women), given that it would be legal, suggests one ought not be an officer, warrant, or NCO at all.

    • Dan Kemp

      No argument there.

    • Tom Kratman

      Oh, and that reminds me; in the event the Army or even the 101st ever gets a sudden rush of brains to the head and wants to start doing realistic live fires again? Yeah, have them give me a call. They’ll need teaching.

    • Dan Kemp

      Someone may or may not have been leaving copies of your work at random electronic spots around several posts.

      Also in terms of institutional memory on how the platoon and company live fire ranges work, there is a reason that Range Control is mostly crusty infantry NCOs from our better days. =)

    • Tom Kratman

      Yeah? I’m skeptical. I know how. People who were in the 193rd know how. Rangers know how but have too many fratricides in training for me to want them teaching it.

    • TBR

      I’ll +1 that pistol competency comment. In my active duty time for most of the time I was one of those indifferently pistol-trained people who shot 5 or 10 rounds a year to “qualify” (10 if you missed too much with the first 5).

      But I did a certain “special” course which, among other things, focussed on pistol competency to such a high degree that trigger finger wear/exhaustion was one of the main reasons for people to fail the course (due to DA/SA double tap). It takes a lot of time, effort and rounds to develop and maintain true pistol competency. And then there is the tactical part of the training…

      That said I think people in this thread focus too much on what happens in an actual “incident” and the performance of the then armed uniformed servicemembers. You can generate safety in two ways, raising the effectiveness of those that are armed and by raising the numbers of thaose that are aremd. The mere fact that a formerly “gun free zone” has transformed to the exact opposite means a soft target haas become extra hard. This extremely reduces the “incident” probability. If you cannot commit enough training time for real tactical pistol competency just focus on firearms safety and tacical competence enough that the probability of misfires/mishandling goes down far enough that you can afford to have all of your people (or the plurality of them if you want to restrict it to ranks of, say, E-6 and above) armed 24/365 without a rash of accidental casualties and those armed people not being a “net-minus” complication for the (fully trained) response force in an “incident”. Doing this you will have far less “incidents” and reduce the severity of those that remain either because of deterrence or because the perp is not able to handle the, due to the presence of armed personnel, to him far more complicated tactical situation and gets bogged down until the response team arrives even if he is not shot outright.

    • Tom Kratman

      Yeah, I think we understate / underestimate what the prospect of failure and being remembered as a failure does to deter the would be mass shooter. They go for the easy target, even when they plainly intend suicide at the end, precisely to avoid being remembered as a loser.

      Edit: I _think_.

    • Jack Withrow

      Dan, One thing I have noticed over the years, is that most AD Combat Arms units suck at marksmanship training and as a result individual soldiers are for the most part pretty bad shots. That said I have seen many NG units run very effective range programs with fairly high qualification rates, much better than a lot of AD units I have been in.

      So the issue to my mind is that if a NG Unit can conduct effective marksmanship training with the very limited time they have available, why can’t the AD units do the same? While I don’t have the complete answer to that, I believe that a major part of the problem is the mandated training from higher that interferes with overall effective training on core competencies. NG and Reserve units tend to pay lip service to mandated training on things like EEO, etc., while they concentrate on core combat missions and tasks.

    • Tom Kratman

      We used to run some ranges, LFX and qual, both, down in Panama, for the 53rd SIB, Florida Guard. Now we shot a LOT, and used an old fashioned program for markmanship, to include KD ranges. But, on average, those alligator poachin’ mo-fos could outshoot us any day of the week.

    • Jack Withrow

      I have been told that the Army is starting to use KD ranges again. Having first learned how to conduct marksmanship training in the USMC, I think it is a good first step in reviving that training if the Army is using KD Ranges again.

      I have always been appalled at the quality of the Army’s marksmanship training. The biggest problem IMO has always been time. Little or no time is spent on basics, just take the troops out to the range and let them blast away. Shoot one course of fire for practice and then one for record and only if the trooper goes NQ, does any type of refresher training take place. Don’t know how many times I have been on a range detail and watched that happen.

      The only time I have seen an AD Army unit take Range Qual seriously, was right before that unit was scheduled to deploy. But then it is far too late to correct problems and retrain the fundamentals. As a result, only enough time is spent to get the troop a minimum score to qualify. And once deployed, little thought is given to training on marksmanship either. I saw more than a few units in Afghanistan, that the only time infantrymen fired their weapons was while they were in contact. No effort was made to recheck Battlesight Zero’s on their weapons during the entire time I was around them. As a result they wasted huge amounts of ammo in contact for little to no return. The excuse was always ammo shortages prevented function checks and any re-zeroing of weapons, yet that same Bn maintained a fairly large reserve ammo stockpile in their ASP.

    • Tom Kratman

      In OSUT, at Ft Polk, in 74, we spent just about as much time, about as much ammunition, and as much sheer pain, as the Corps did. It was weeks and weeks of the stuff. I’m not sure when that changed.

    • Jack Withrow

      Got out of the USMC in 82, enlisted in the Army in 84. The first time I went to the range with the Army I was sorely disappointed. 80 rounds for two courses of fire on the pop-up range, no night fire and no NBC fire. I was used to the USMC, one solid week of nothing but snapping in, and then a full week on the range, shooting every day. And then if you didn’t qualify at least Sharpshooter you did not progress to the pop-ups.

      I had always been told the Army had done studies, proving pop-up ranges were superior to KD ranges. But I have never seen any proof of that on the firing line. So I have never bought into that as why the Army changed things around. A very salty SGM told me one time, he always blamed Jimmy Peanut for how the Army’s marksmanship went down hill. According to him, the Ammo budget was slashed circa 1977-78 and the Army was forced to go to the Pop-up range Course of Fire as a result. That has always seemed the likeliest scenario in my mind.

    • Tom Kratman

      Not a study of marksmanship, per se, I don’t think, but a study – more or less based on Marshall’s Men Against Fire; so I suspect – that says people are more likely to shoot, if only to suppress, if trained on the pop ups.

      As a practical matter, given the number of rounds it takes to get a hit, which isn’t improved upon much by the Corps, the literal impossibility of training people to shoot under the conditions of battle, and – to the extent Marshall was correct, and people argue over this – the unlikelihood of any given rifleman actually shooting…it probably doesn’t matter that much.

      What probably matters more is the self confidence and mutual confidence that arises from knowing how to shoot and knowing your comrades do, too, and ensuring that the few real killers you have in a given unit also know how to kill.

      That’s for “at range,” of course; the factors change a bit for point blank, in immediate self defense.

    • Jack Withrow

      I’ve always been highly suspicious of Marshall’s conclusions, and have not seen anything that proves the theory that using pop-up targets makes a soldier more prone to fire in combat. Not saying that Marshall was wrong, just I have not seen anything to prove he was right.

      Regarding the USMC method of training riflemen. I am a huge supporter of using the KD ranges first and foremost. With the KD range, the shooter gets immediate feedback on hits or misses, and as their ability improves their confidence goes up. Pop-up ranges are good, but if you put a shooter on the line that has no confidence in their ability or weapon, all they are going is wasting ammo. Using a pop-up range IMO does not give most shooters confidence in themselves or their weapon.

      As far as suppressive fire goes, it has to be somewhat accurate to do any good. And without first a KD range and then a Pop-up range, I am not convinced you will get suppressive fire that is accurate enough to force the bad guys heads down.

    • Dan Kemp

      My Mississippi NG unit in the 1990s shot better than all but the very best active duty infantry units I see in my day job. Experience counts for a lot. My Guard unit was a redneck cannon club, and you had guys who were still PFC howitzer loaders with fifteen years of service while these days with the Division’s continued deployments and resets, we have a lot of kids straight off of Sand Hill in the rifle companies for whom this shit is not yet instinctive.

    • PeaceMaker

      Maybe in the past but last month I was told drill is one day online training(for officially approved ass covering instructional material) and one day of “ARMY” training.

    • PavePusher


      I repeat myself:

      “See my solution, above.”

      Translation: Stop inventing reasons why it CAN’T be done. Obstruction is NOT a solution.

    • Dan Kemp

      “Identify all problems bearing on the solution” is planning process for a solution, not obstructing. I was a famously cynical S-3 assistant plans NCO among other things- one of my jobs was
      shoot holes in OPORDs until they became more “bullet resistant.” That is all I am doing here.

      I have my permit, but the DA civilians will probably be last in line to be allowed to carry on post even if the Army does evolve a process. I’m moderately screwed either way.

  • Jack Withrow

    Sir, The Public has had this same discussion after every massacre of unarmed service members in my memory and nothing has changed. While I would love to see the current restrictions on service members being armed both on and off post disappear, I just don’t see it happening. Moral Cowardice has so infected the GO and E-9 Corps, they would not permit it even if Congress authorized it.
    The only way I see this changing is if the changes to the UCMJ you suggest are enacted, and more importantly a number of senior officers and SNCO’s are court martialed for denying troops the right of self defense. Unless there is some mechanism to threaten the careers of those cowards with stars, there will be no changes and troops will continue to be targeted and killed.

    • Tom Kratman

      Oh, they’ll have to be forced, all right; this “may”shit won’t fly.

    • Jack Withrow

      I saw an article on Fox News about Odienro claiming there are legal issues about arming service members. I assumed he was referring to Posse Comitatus, which is pure bunk. Posse Comitatus does not prohibit service members being armed within the US. When the Chief of Staff of the Army doesn’t have a clue about the legalities involved, it is high time he should be asked to resign. But I will not hold my breath waiting for that.

    • Tom Kratman

      Oh, I imagine he’s desperately grasping at straws.

    • cjleete

      I hate to echo cynicism but the cancer has spread far beyond senior officers and enlisted.

    • Jack Withrow

      Probably right about that, but if you get rid of those worthless moral cowards at the top, the lower types just might wise up. Afterall those GO’s and CSM’s set the example for everybody else. What is needed is a bunch of hard asses, willing to tell the politicians to go pound sand in those top positions both commissioned and CSM.

    • Tom Kratman

      Oh, a fish always rots from the head, but have you ever heard of a fish _un_rotting, once the rot has begun?

    • Ori Pomerantz

      After Vietnam, was the army somewhat rotten? Did it un-rot?

    • Tom Kratman

      The army is a reflection of the society from which it springs. In the 70s, American society was fairly sound, looking worse than it was as a result of the garishness of the left amplified by the megaphone, at the time. Those lefties then began their “long march through the institutions,” which is pretty far along the way now, leaving most of the country a shell – a _thin_ shell – of civilization and nationhood.

    • Neil

      In that case, isn’t it a fool’s errand to waste time and energy on forcing the brass to do something that ought to be bloody obvious? They’ll just find another way to get people killed.

      If someone with some sense were in a position to get such things done, perhaps we’d be better served if they start encouraging leadership, rather than trying to micro-manage the problem.

    • Tom Kratman

      Not necessarily. Start with this: Good and evil cannot be measured only by scope, depth, and intensity; they must be measured also by _duration_.

    • Neil

      Duration? It’s taken 40+ years for the Long March to fully bear fruit–longer if you start counting from the formation of the Frankfurt School. That’s a long time getting people inured to the presence of evil. I’ve known second- and third-generation members of that crowd, going back to CPUSA days, through SDA and Occupy, and I am fully aware (as in the wake-up-sweating-at-2am-heebie-jeebies aware) what they are capable of. Personally, the reaction to the Chattanooga attack was a real wake-up call–they’ve made the military submissive to their command in ways that go well beyond the legal chain of command. I recognize the signs, and I’m sure you do as well. This is “not good”.

      The only fix is a Long Counter-March. I’m optimistic–I think it will only take 35 years to be fully successful.

    • Tom Kratman

      It would be noticeably sped up if we shot about 10 million people, too, but that’s probably not in the cards.

    • Neil

      You’re a real humanitarian, Col. Kratman. Billy Ayers thought it needed 25 million.

      Of course, in the end he participated in the Long March instead of setting up reeducation camps. We can hope that a Counter-March works at least as well.

    • Tom Kratman

      I know. I sometimes wonder if that number is just way too optimistic.

    • akulkis

      It depends on which 10 million you shoot. If it includes every lefty politician, entire school boards and leftist departments on the college and university level, and every treasonous sellout in the state and federal governments — especially the traitor-filled EPA and Department of Education, then it probably won’t need to be much more than that.

    • Tom Kratman

      Oh, way fewer than that. It includes 4 million common law felons, at a guess, robbers, rapists, arsonists, murderers, traitors, burglars, and the like.

    • Jack Withrow

      So you think the rot has gone too far? I had hoped it was not that far gone, but you could very well be right.

    • Tom Kratman

      Well..short of a whole bunch of extrajudicial executions, I see no way back.

  • Bordeaux Vixen

    oh wow yes gee my head exploded

    • Tom Kratman

      Actually, if you read – I mean, if you _can_ read – the prediction of exploding heads is not from this column, but from enacting what the column calls for. I know you need to have an IQ higher than a toaster to understand the difference, so I – and I encourage the rest of the company to do likewise – shall cut you some slack.

    • Bordeaux Vixen

      you only say mean things! does that make you feel superior? great job!

    • Tom Kratman

      BV, if you hadn’t been straining yourself ab initio to both be inimical and seem box-o-rocks dumb, you might get a little more consideration. As is, you just came in with another stupid comment and are whining about being called on it? That’s absurb.

      Also as is, you’ve just reinforced my suspicion – with that rendition of the eternal feminist plaint, “stop being so _mean_ to me” – that everyjoe hired you to give liberalism and feminism bad names.

    • Bordeaux Vixen

      liberalism and feminism already have bad names here, so that certainly can’t be my goal.

    • Tom Kratman

      Why should everyjoe care about your goals, so long as you meet its goals?

    • Bordeaux Vixen

      not one bit i guess

    • Tom Kratman

      By the way, BV, any chance you sell real estate around Miami?

    • Bordeaux Vixen

      wow, how did you know?!

    • Tom Kratman

      Hmmm…wonder if it’s true. If so, which of my books did you appear in and under what name or names?

  • PavePusher

    EVERY military member should be armed at ALL times and ALL locations, no questions asked.

    If there’s a problem with personnel reliability, you get rid of the unreliable people, and court-martial the fuckwads responsible for accepting them, passing them on, and not previously getting rid of them.

    If there’s a lack-of-training problem, you train the personnel to an acceptable standard, get rid of the ones who can’t be trained, and hunt down those responsible for the lack and, after a fair trial for treason and sabotage, execute them. (That would be Brass, Civilian admin AND Congress-fuckwads.)

    Problem- SOLVED.

    • CommonSense23

      Here is the problem, what do you consider a acceptable level of training? What do you consider a acceptable level of equipment on hand? Being proficient with a hand gun takes a lot of training. Training that takes away from core task. To be a capable gunfighter with a handgun takes a serious amount of training.

    • Jack Withrow

      There would be plenty of time for training if all the BS was cut out of the training schedule. I was a 1SG and I know for a fact there is considerable time, probably at least half of the training schedule, eaten up with make-work and various feel good training/required briefings that have absolutely nothing to do with training for war.

      Take a good hard look at any training schedule, and apply the Col’s rules for training. (Read his Training for War essay) You will quickly see what I am talking about. Even what should be required training has become so regimented as to bear little to what should be trained. Why does every time an Infantry Plt conducts a live fire, it needs a two week train-up prior to? Why does an EIB test need a three week training period before the actual test? Why has range qualification become so regimented, that actual marksmanship training is an afterthought to the Range Qual?

    • CommonSense23

      Yeah I can completely agree with the fact the majority of time is wasted for combat units. But what about the non combat side of the military? There are actually a good amount of units that go to work and spend there work day actually working. How much training should they receive? What equipment should they have? I carry concealed every day I go on base. So don’t think I am against people being armed. But I wouldn’t trust the majority of the people I see on base in a gun fight.

    • Jack Withrow

      CS/CSS units have probably as much if not more BS on their training schedules than Combat Arms units. The problem you are seeing is that typical CS/CSS Units do not actually spend that much time on their wartime mission training, they get sucked into the trap of garrison missions. Further their marksmanship training sucks, but that is a result of not putting any emphasis on it. There are a lot of good troops in those CS/CSS units, problem is their leadership in most cases is not up to the task of training them correctly.

    • akulkis

      That’s for sure. Recently (2 years ago), ended up going from a combat arms battalion (infantry) to a CSS unit (petroleum pipeline company). Our actual MOS job is a non-perishable skill. It can be maintained with annual training, and nothing more. All the rest of the schedule SHOULD be filled with common task training, etc. Instead, what we end up doing is LOTS of inventorying and other army paperwok BS. We have an EST 2000 system in the building… we should therefore have NO failures-to-qualify on issued small arms. At the very least, we should be able to use that system to get soldiers at least shooting tight enough shot groups to get a proper sight adjustment on the zeroing range. But there’s always some excuse about why someone who isn’t doing anything for the next 2 hours can’t run the system and push through any weak shooters who aren’t doing anything at that time either. Frustrating as hell.

      Combat arms units take to heart the poster that says, “Let no soldier’s soul cry out, ‘Had I only been properly trained’”

    • Tom Kratman

      Not in my rifle company, it wasn’t.

    • PavePusher

      ” But I wouldn’t trust the majority of the people I see on base in a gun fight.”

      I addressed that.

    • Tom Kratman

      A lot of that, Jack, is commanders who don’t know how – don’t even suspect how – to train.

    • Jack Withrow

      No argument with that. But I would add that a lot of commanders don’t know how to evaluate the training level of their units either.

    • Andrew Foss

      Acceptable level of training? Breathing, wishing to remain that way, having had a basic familiarization course of fire.

      These are people who, *job ONE* is to kill people and break their stuff. They’re not the Peace Corps. They’re not UNICEF. They’re not the Red Cross. They’re not the Salvation Army. They’re not the Boy/Girl Scouts. They’re the United States Military. Want to make it easier? Sign individual weapons out like it’s a war zone. (Meaning: Here’s your rifle, it’s an inspectable, sensitive item, report loss or theft /*_IMMEDIATELY_*/. It stays within arm’s reach. Additionally, since GO-1 doesn’t apply stateside, you must leave it with your DD, arms room another member of your unit if you’re drinking.) Open the ranges to off-duty personnel and let them fire their own ammo if they want.

      Acceptable level of equipment on hand? There are roughly 1.25 million active duty personnel. Hey, guess what: the military has roughly one M4, M8, M11, M16, M249 or M1911 (Yes, I know I’ve listed rifles and the SAW. So what.That last guy had an AK. Overwhelming speed and violence of action is a GOOD thing.) per person. Anything other than your wang in your hand is “good enough” for when SHTF.

      Handgun training taking away from other training? Puh-leeze: A pistol isn’t a primary weapon for the majority of the military’s servicemembers. Nor is it your average shooter’s first choice if something better is at hand and stuff is going down. And if it is their primary weapon, they should be training to proficiency with it. As has been said, “A pistol exists to let you fight your way back to the long gun you *never should have put down in the first place*. What is also said is that “predators don’t attack hard targets; they go for the easy ones”.

      By the very nature of not knowing if you’re going up against Jerry Miculek, Jeff Cooper, Ken Hackathorn or the most brainwashed of anti-gunners following Bloomberg and Watts, you move from “easy prey” to “Possibly a hard target”. That’s enough to prevent tragedy.

    • MichaelZWilliamson

      USAF engineers had a somewhat easier weapons course than some others. If it was outside the perimeter, it was typically not our problem unless we received direct orders. If it was inside the perimeter and hostile, it was fair game.

      The training including documents with the text “warning shots are/are not authorized on this installation.”

      The instruction was “line out the word “are” and initial next to it.”

      Further, “If you find it necessary to fire, attempt to wound so the violator may be detained for interrogation.”

      We were then told, “We will now practice shooting center of mass, for most effective stop.”
      I loved that dichotomy.

      And we went to the range and shot.

      That’s more than enough for the circumstances.

      Any shooter knowing there are hundreds or even dozens of cadre with sidearms or rifles ready to respond is going to change his targeting parameters.

    • PavePusher

      “Being proficient with a hand gun takes a lot of training.”

      Not all that much. Civilians do it and get it right all the freakin’ time. No excuses.

      “Training that takes away from core task.”

      I once thought proficiency with weapons in the military WAS actually a core task; that we should be all about being armed and dangerous (to the enemy, whoever, and where-ever, they might be).

      Sadly, I was disabused of this quaint theory by the end of my first 6 months. I lasted 24 years preaching that we needed to actually BE armed. And we have the dead comrades to prove I’m right.

    • PavePusher

      P.S. Why in the name of Ghod do you not consider personal weapons to be a core military task/skill?

  • Tom Kratman

    And it seems a couple of men in the Navy and Corps had the balls to (quietly, to be sure) tell DoD to fuck off and die:

    • Jack Withrow

      I’m waiting to see what the Navy does to that LtCmdr now that it has come out he was armed. I understand that the Marine who had a weapon was killed.

      My prediction is that Lt Cmdr will be forced to retire when it is all said and done.

    • Tom Kratman

      Oh, my guess is he’s safe as safe can be through O-5, at which point they’ll ease him out the door. For now, the political costs of doing anything to him are too high.

    • Jack Withrow

      If he is eligible for Cmdr before he hits 20, I would say you are possibly right. But as soon as he hits 20, I believe he will be forced to retire.

      I don’t know if the Navy and Marine Corps still do things this way or not. But back in the day, when they wanted to ease some one out, they normally transferred them to a Reserve Unit as full time staff first. So if this LtCmdr was AD, he might have been already on his way out before this stuff happened. Hope that is not the case though.

  • Daric Wade

    As enthusiastic as I was initially about the sheer array of petitions and at least one bill introduced by a Marine Representative, I’ve started to realize that once the military gets hold of this, they’ll make it as ineffectual as possible.

    The petitioners get to believe they’ve won, the military gets to say its troops have “the option”, which would be vested with a post commander who doesn’t want to deal with the potential fallout of letting his 18-22 year-old privates go walkabout with weapons outside of a stupidly over-controlled environment, and the left gets to say that it’s all a reasoned, “common-sense” response.

    When in reality nothing will change.

    When I checked into temporary lodging at an Air Force Base in Texas, I asked the receptionist why there were people wearing reflective belts with their civilian clothing.

    She responded that an airman had been run over by a fire truck some months ago.
    A tragedy, for sure, but in today’s risk-averse force, we no longer trust service members to be accountable for their actions.

    It’s damned disappointing. I spent all my time in CSS as an MI guy, and I take pride in the bullet on my NCOER where my rater said that my personal weapon maintenance set the standard for my section.

    I had no reasonable expectation of ever needing to use that weapon, but I didn’t want that to be my epitaph if I ever did have to use it and couldn’t because it failed to fire.

    On the other hand, I’ve been a lane safety on ranges where the shooters couldn’t hit a damn thing because they just don’t care enough to shoot outside of their mandated qualifications, and because they’re not really afforded any opportunities to do so by the military.

  • PavePusher
  • Monti

    Tom, what was the reason for taping the magazines rather than using an empty magazine, a magazine with dummy rounds, or magazines with some other kind of filler?

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