Thread: My letter to the Base Armory
I recently returned from a TDY to a different base for a course lasting five weeks. During that period, to be in compliance with the law, I checked my firearm into the armory while on base. (This became a pain and you will see why in the following text.) Upon graduation we were given the opprotunity to critique the base facilities. This was my critique regarding the base armory. I was informed that it will go straight to the Wing and to the Armory from there.
Though it wasn't enforced until FPCON BRAVO, the base armory told me I needed a 24 hour appointment ahead of time to check out my firearm. I cannot read the future so I cannot know what I'll be doing exactly 24 hours from this exact minute. This made it ALMOST impossible to be able to carry my firearm when I went off base. The Base Armory's policy, while convenient for the security forces personnel, was only successful in disarming me for most of my time here for this TDY. I joined the military because I love the freedoms protected by the constitution and I want to do my part to protect them, so I felt that it was ludicrous that my constitutional rights were withheld from me because of some flimsy policy the Base Armory has. When I am off base, the Security Forces squadron will not respond to a call to help me and case law studies have proven that local law enforcement have no legal duty to protect me from violent crime. Because of this I feel that this policy needs to go.
I made sure to click YES to wanting a response back. Gave them my address, phone number, everything. I look forward to hearing their response.
When checking my gun out, one of the armorers suggested I just not bring it with me TDY...
That's nice, because when I get lost driving across the country I totally don't want to have my gun on me. I want to pull up to a not so friendly area's gas station with an out of state license plate in an area I don't know and walk up to the angry looking group of locals just standing there with nothing to do and ask them for directions...
In the Army when you go to a school TDY, it states in your orders that NO weapons are authorized. So you should almost consider yourself lucky to bring it at all. I don't agree with military base rules at all (FT. Hood one example) rant, head pound, etc.
"The beauty of the Second Amenment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it." Thomas Jefferson
"Evil often triumphs, but never conquers." Joseph Roux
Are you looking for 24/7 access? Imagine the all the combinations of access hours required to service the base, and visiting military gun owners, just not realistic. But improved access over what is now doesn’t seem too much to ask, but still could never fit everyone’s scheduled and unscheduled needs. I’ll bet there is not enough armor’s to service all the possibilities; who’s running for pizza, had a hot date and returning with a smile at 0400, going shooting at the gravel pit 0900 Sunday, moving, checking into the base, heading out to fill some gator tags, well just endless.
But at any cost I hope you didn’t do as so many Sailor’s in my day did, just complain/critique with-out providing a well thought out viable solution/plan that will benefit everyone, and not just … Did your base critique include that? If not the response you get, if any, I suspect will effectively and equally address the complaint/critique.
Don’t get me wrong I’m with you, but realistically…
Last edited by jbone; 05-25-2011 at 12:54 PM.
Though the bigger issue is the military's policy regarding guns in general and not allowing service members to have a weapon on their person while on base unless it's issued to them while on duty.
That's good, the complete opposite for the places I was stationed at. Although they could have been manned but not open for business? I looked at other forums and there seemed to be a consensus from 16-30 yr AF members that there is no policy prohibiting the taking of a personal firearm on TDY. But I'm retired Navy, and I donít even recall if the Navy had such a policy for TAD. But one thing is sure and that is base commanders can add additional restrictions while on their base. Or unit commanders could include on the orders no personal firearms allowed on TDY from their unit. Would hate to find myself in a UCMJ Jam. May pay to check the policy of the base youíre going to first. Or, as most all others on the other forums suggested, get billeting off base if you can while TDY.
You can have a personal firearm in checked baggage; provide its secured and stowed IAW http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/editorial_1666.shtm
Good luck Schlitz, I hope you beat that policy into the ground! Im not a military person, but I see no reason why you should have any restrictions to your rights to carry.
Far as im concerned, you should be able to carry your service side arm while in public.
That 24 hour notice crap is stupid!
Keep us posted and let us know how it goes.
I really don't expect you to see success in this effort. Still it is worthwhile. We will lose most of these little battles, but we will win some. And, if we keep fighting these battles, the wins will begin to pile up. You efforts are to be applauded.
Oh and in regards to flying. The issue is that I fly on the E-3 AWACS and that typically when I go TDY it is on the jet and not on a commercial flight. Which means I would typically run into all sorts of issues in regards to storing my personal firearm on a military jet and transporting it to the jet. Not to mention the pilot of the jet has the ability to ban items from their jet (I've seen people going to Alaska for TDY told they can't bring skis/snowboards for example).
What ever happened with this story a few years back.
Army tightens concealed gun policy for Alaska troops
DISCIPLINE: 8 incidents involving soldiers' personal weapons cited for decision.
The Associated Press
Published: March 20, 2006
Last Modified: March 20, 2006 at 02:36 AM
FAIRBANKS -- Soldiers based in Alaska are no longer allowed to carry privately owned concealed weapons, under a new U.S. Army Alaska policy.
The ban is in response to several incidents involving soldiers and weapons, officials said.
"In the last six to eight months, there have been a number of incidents involving soldiers and privately owned concealed weapons that indicated a need to look at this policy," said Maj. Kirk Gohlke.
Incidents include a fatal shooting in Fairbanks that led to the current trial of three Fort Wainwright soldiers, Gohlke said.
A jury is deliberating the fate of Lionel Wright, Freddy Walker and Christopher Cox, who are charged with second-degree murder in the August death of Alvin "Snoop" Wilkins. The soldiers have pleaded not guilty, claiming self-defense in using personal weapons during a confrontation that killed Wilkins.
Gohlke said there have been seven other instances involving Alaska soldiers and personal concealed weapons in Fairbanks and Anchorage. He did not comment on specifics.
The new policy states that "soldiers who fail to comply are subject to adverse administrative action or punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice or both."
Military personnel and civilians also are prohibited from having or transporting a concealed weapon at any time at a military installation in Alaska under a policy that has been in place for some time.
Alaska law, however, is much less restrictive. In 2003, Gov. Frank Murkowski signed into law a bill that allowed citizens to carry concealed handguns in public without a permit.
Joe Nava, a Fairbanks firearms instructor, said there are still benefits for getting a concealed firearm permit, although the state doesn't require it.
Permit holders are eligible to buy a gun from a dealer without a background check, are allowed to carry a concealed weapon in 29 other states and are entered into the police computing system as a permit holder.
Nava disagreed with the Army's new policy.
"The military is taking away (soldiers') ability to protect themselves off base and that's not right," Nava said.
Gohlke, however, said the policy applies only to concealed weapons, not weapons for recreation and hunting.
"Our interest here is simply to protect the health and welfare of soldiers and promote good order and discipline," Gohlke said. "The intent is not to restrict soldiers' rights."
This is foolishness: "Are you having problems with your local armory? No problem! Simply check your Second Amendment rights at the door!"
This is wisdom: "The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
One of the responsibilities of military leaders is maintaining discipline in the ranks. That's about 10% punitive, and about 90% training. In years past when these incidents arose, the individual was simply confined to base, if not quarters, and if severe, to the brig.
Military leaders are failing to recognize the serious increase in crime near Army bases in recent years originates from directives such as this (Constitutionally illegal, in my opinion) preventing Army soldiers from arming themselves off-base.
At one common, highly-attended school, the only requirement (actually listed on the orders) was for personally-owned firearms to be turned into the armory at the beginning and picked up at the end. We were still allowed to check them out at any time and go to the off-base firing range frequented by many students at that school.
The U.S. Military touts itself as as the most highly-disciplined, highly-trained, and professional service of arms throughout the world, yet their decisions with respect to the carry of weapons by service members on and off-base cast serious doubt on that claim.Though the bigger issue is the military's policy regarding guns in general and not allowing service members to have a weapon on their person while on base unless it's issued to them while on duty.
Aknazer, I was a flyer, too, and our typical armament cycle was shortly after mission planning and crew briefing, we'd arm up and step to the plane. If our aircraft was down for maintenance for any length of time, particularly over chow, instead of eating the 'rats on board, we'd proceed to the chow hall, and eat there. The only requirement was that we'd unload while in the chow hall, same as all the other Army, Navy, Marine, and Air Force folks on base, even MPs (SF in the Air Force).
I firmly believe the only reason for this rule is that an inadvertently discharged round, from any firearm, can cause serious damage to multiple folks in such a highly-populated area. So, in part I agree with it, but in part I don't, as I've never had an accidental discharge, and in my current firearm such is not possible, even with a round in the chamber, until I withdraw it from its holster and pull the trigger to the maximum extent.
But that wouldn't be accidental, would it?
Back to the chow hall... I can also see the possibility of incoming attack and subsequent fire causing chambered rounds to cook off. Exceedingly rare, but... possible. And given the rapidity with which we could load up (couple of seconds) and the distance from the wire, it was really no big thing to unload while entering the chow hall and reload upon exit.
SO! Why not observe the same discipline here as we did abroad? "Train like you fight" was the motto we always observed, and I've been on many non-OEF/OIF missions where we armed up before takeoff here in the states or many other countries, and disarmed only before debarking the aircraft at our intended destination, yet often not until just before final mission debriefing.
I also recall several situations where we slept with our loaded firearms. However, they were rare. I do think the military went out of their way to ensure most service members didn't have to do that by provided layered levels of security.
That's not to say they've yapped the dog on several occasions their, either, including Khobar Towars and the assault on the Marines in Beirut.
The bigger question is what's really behind these sometimes Constitutional, and sometimes unConstititional restrictions?
More here about this in a moment (post is getting too long).
"Negative training" has been incited in many military and commercial aircraft accidents over the years, but it was identified as a key factor decades ago, and subsequent retraining resulted in more than 50% reduction in aircraft accidents, both military and commercial, between the 1980s and the mid-2000s.
It works, as do the seriously more complex and educational/statistically-based processes behind them.
I see minimal effort with respect to the particular issue of either OC or CC either on or off-base. What I see is "oops! our soldiers are screwing up, lock them down tight, as I don't want this crap to impact my chance at the next level of promotion."
Seriously, folks, that's the way it's always been, and that's the way it always will be in the military power circles. As the folks who're in that game like to say, "don't let them blow smoke up your *** (use your imagination)."
Just don't let them pull the wool over your eyes.
So what's at fault?
1. Soldiers going berserk after deployments.
2. Soldiers' training conflicts with civilian requirements.
3. Soldiers never given any training with respect to civilian requirements.
I most suspect "3," combined with a "that's not our job" mindset while paired with "we'll simply order them not to and fry them if they do" knee-jerk, but Constitutionally-violating response to the issue.
#1 is a definite issue, although I believe it's over-inflated. I suffered nothing compared to what many have in firefights, just an explosion or two, yet I'm still jumpy, and my neighbor across the hall (himself a level-10 wounded warrior) tends to bolt out of his apartment to walk his dog about the same time I exit mine for a walk. We both experience half a second of the willies before we grin, laugh, and go on with life.
That's life. He's adjusting. So am I. What he and I share in common is the facts that:
A. We're on the same side. I support him, and he supports me.
B. We might not get along, but see A.
C. We've both been through some hard times. His are way different from mine, but similar on a few key points. Is that enough for "camaraderie?" Heck, no! He'll never accept the fact that I got shot at unless it was with him in the "123rd Fighting Fatigues."
I think what he gets more than anything is that A and B overcome C. Over time, the two tend to come together.
Back to the topic:
I will never draw on anyone because they surprise me. As I like to say, "BOO!" will not do. I will only draw on them because they present as "lethally-armed, non-LEOs demonstrating a life/limb-threatening danger to myself and others within my immediate vicinity."
That's it. It's really that simple, and I think fits the laws in nearly all states, with the exceptions being state-specific when the firearm might be used in that way. In the home? Nearly all. In one's own vehicle? A close second. Out on the street? Now we're delving into OC/CC issues, but those could be easily tailors to specific states.
How many minutes might it take to train an member of the service that this is the ONLY time you can pull the trigger in a civilian situation at your home station?
That'll get the U.S. Armed Services 95% of the way there. If you want 98%, it'll take 200 minutes.
If you pre-screen them (those without any known issues, or far yet better, a voluntary course), then you've cut that down to around 15% of all members of the military service.
As a military trainer with decades of experience, training folks isn't hard at all. Most want to learn. It's tailoring the training to the audience that proves a challenge. Interestingly enough, that was the first thing I learned back in college that was the hardest thing to do.
All, right, that's a full-level effort response. You only get one of those a week. Perhaps I'm just that dang passionate about it!
You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training.Ē Archilochus, 650 BC
Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.
I completely forgot about this thread. For the record, I have not been contacted by that base yet. I don't think they really care... I think as soon as they saw me mention the constitution they probably wrote me off as some crazy...
These policies seem to becoming from the new era of the officer corps, (doesn't matter which branch) where they have been part of the "anti" brainwashing syndrome. Maybe for a few of the ticket punchers it only required a light rinse.
They have no regard to anything outside thier world and have no ability to see the whole picture. They are now becoming part of the "Big Government Complex".
I have seen over the years more and more miltitary personnel that have never had an exposure to firearms until the military. Thus thier knowledge is very limited to the "Grandizing of the Instructor doctrine". Then as a lot of people they never ask more questions or do any research. The old mentality of the "If the (branch of service) needed for you to have more information it would give you more information has prevailed.
Last edited by Rattrapper; 06-01-2011 at 08:54 AM.
Sailors carrying firearms is the same as a drunk with a firearm? What does service in a naval branch have to do with thinking impairment? You do know that just about everyone in the military, regardless of what specific job they fill, is trained on firearms? right?I firmly believe that sailors and guns do not normally mix, just as booze and guns don't mix. Why are the Marines part of the Dept. of the Navy anyway, cuz they know how to handle guns properly. Sailors do the complicated operation of the gizmos and gadgets and let the Marines handle the guns. Has worked for as long as we have had a Navy and the Corps.
I know I volunteered for service, but I volunteered to protect my rights... I think it's pretty crappy to crap on my service by not just taking away those rights, but messing with my right to self defense, especially when the threat of terrorist attacks is higher and I'm walking around town with a high-and-tight that no normal civilian wears...
Last edited by Schlitz; 06-02-2011 at 07:48 AM.
That is similar to how I feel. The services and the commanders have the lawful authority to deny carry on their installations. It is a stupid thing to do, and the policy should be changed. If the military leaders thought the matter through rationally, they would change that policy.
The only significant difference is that, with an ordinary contract, exercising rights (taking actions) that one has agreed not to take or not doing things that one has agreed to do will result in civil penalties. When one signs the military contract, he agrees to be subject to the UCMJ. Violating that contract can carry criminal penalties.
Don't the people making the policies that end up restricting rights ALSO take an oath to SUPPORT and defend the constitution? Wether it be an officer or a politician? Could that be grounds for challenging policies that restrict rights as unlawful orders since it could be construed that the person creating it violated the oath?
To create an effective military organization, some rights must be given up. I don't believe that the RKBA should be completely eliminated, but I understand that the decision of who is armed, with what, when, and where has to belong ultimately to the commanders. However, that they have the natural (and legislated) authority to make such decisions does not mean that those decisions have been made wisely nor that the commanders cannot leave some of that decision-making in the hands of the troops themselves.
The issue in these types of orders is the vagueness of "maintain good order and discipline" combined with the view by many that you simply can't question what a "superior" says (though that type of a mindset can easily lead one into trouble should an order be unlawful). The next issue is in changing the views of those who have the power to stop this type of abuse. If they view it as an appropriate "safety" issue then chances are they won't put a stop to it even if it is unlawful.
Oh and Since9, I was only talking about the issues I would have in bringing a personal weapon on a TDY. Bringing military issued weapons onto the jet wouldn't be an issue and depending on the theater we do fly with them (but not on training sorties).
What possibly erks me the most is that it doesn't stop at the front gate. I can't even carry on my way to and from work because it can't be in my car. (This isn't talking TDY, this is just being home, driving to work daily) So my 2A stops at my home.
I've mentioned it before, I've had to stop at red lights in some real ghetto areas at 0200 in the morning driving home. I remember a few months ago stopping at a light at 2 in the morning while every cop in town was across the road at a murder scene taking their pictures and all that good stuff. It pisses me off that I choose to serve yet they throw me on night shift and when I have to drive home through the ghetto all I have is "good luck.".. O_O My fellow airmen and I are somehow safer with me driving home at 2 am by murder scenese in the ghetto disarmed. It's like they secretly don't care about me or my family.
I carry an ASP in my car now for the very few times I've HAD to stop for gas in the more ghetto areas at night. (I do avoid stopping there, it's only been a few times) Hopefully my metal stick can protect me from what ever the hoodlems are packing, thanks Uncle Sam!!! Though it doesn't do me much good if someone pulls a gun on me at a red light or any other unthought of situation.
Last edited by Schlitz; 06-02-2011 at 02:13 PM.