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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