Legal issues delay arming recruiters for U.S. military

Sen. Jerry Moran, Kansas Republican, has proposed arming all recruiters. “Rather than asking for permission to allow service members to bear arms, Sen. Moran’s bill makes the right of servicemen and -women to carry the default, not the exception,” said Garrette Turner, a spokesperson for Mr. Moran.

The Pentagon’s ban on arming servicemen on U.S. bases is largely due to legal issues, such as the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which prohibits the federal government from using the military for domestic law enforcement. U.S. forces don’t routinely carry guns when they are not in combat or on military bases. And Pentagon officials are sensitive to any appearance of armed troops within the United States.

Ben Connable, a policy analyst at RAND Corporation, said the best way to keep guns in recruiting centers would be to lock up the weapon and use biometrics to secure it from theft and misplacement. The military would have to create a foolproof plan in order to implement this, he said. “Many of them are not infantrymen with extensive experience,” Mr. Connable said. “You don’t have time to keep weapons skills up. A lot of recruiters are stationed in areas without ranges. So keeping their skills up is a big thing the military will have to address.”

Mr. Taylor said training would be paramount in implementing the law in a safe manner.

S.1823 Latest Title: A bill to safeguard military personnel on Armed Forces military installations by repealing bans on military personnel carrying firearms, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Sen Moran, Jerry [KS] (introduced 7/21/2015) Cosponsors (None)
Latest Major Action: 7/21/2015 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Armed Services.

Bill text: