More Military Base Shootings—But Troops Can’t Defend Themselves

December 10, 2019 Updated: December 10, 2019


Two days of terror at U.S. military bases—Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Naval Air Station Pensacola—demonstrate the horrific result of laws and regulations that disarmed our military personnel when on base.

You read that right, America’s troops can’t defend themselves.

On Dec. 4, a U.S. Navy sailor killed two people and injured another at Pearl Harbor before killing himself.

On Dec. 6, an aviation student from Saudi Arabia killed three people and injured eight in Pensacola. He was killed only after local sheriffs arrived.

There have been too many killings at military bases, but unlike the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, these weren’t a surprise.

Why? Because Clinton- and Bush-era laws and regulations disarmed military personnel while on base. America’s troops, highly trained in marksmanship and defending people around the world, aren’t allowed to protect themselves or others, and therefore, they’ve become sitting ducks for terrorists and killers.

Following the terrible shooting at the Washington Navy Yard in 2013, I wrote the “Safe Military Bases Act” (H.R. 3199), which would remove the legal and regulatory prohibitions that prevent our military personnel from being able to defend themselves and everyone on their base.

Sure, there’s military police and some others authorized to be armed on any military base, but like with school shootings, what matters is having enough armed “good guys” on base so there’s probably one close enough to act if a terrorist or murderer opens fire.

The clear and obvious solution to mass killings on our military bases is to allow our military personnel to carry firearms while on base, either military or privately owned arms. Just having many armed troops on base will deter killers and terrorists from even considering a mass murder.

I urge members of Congress to reintroduce H.R. 3199 or similar legislation to repeal all such laws and regulations—I’ve done the research for you. Let’s get this on the president’s desk before Christmas.

I urge President Donald Trump to take immediate executive action to repeal Army Regulation 190–14, issued on March 12, 1993, and Department of Defense Directive Number 5210.56, issued on Nov. 1, 2001, as modified on Jan. 24, 2002.

Either or both actions will enhance the safety and lives of our military personnel. Based on the previous killings and terrorist attacks, there may be more, unless these laws and regulations are repealed.

Let’s make these killings the last.

Excerpts from the ‘Safe Military Bases Act’:


To safeguard military and civilian personnel on military bases by repealing bans on military personnel carrying firearms, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Safe Military Bases Act.”

SEC. 2. Repeal of laws and regulations disarming firearms-trained military personnel and prohibition on reimposing bans on military personnel carrying firearms.

(b) Findings.—Congress makes the following findings:

(1) In both the Fort Hood and Navy Yard shootings, military personnel unable to carry firearms by the military gun bans were unable to stop the shooters.

(2) Military personnel are trained in firearms use and are prepared to protect and defend the United States at all times.

(3) Military personnel are entrusted with firearms and other weapons in the defense of the United States.

(4) Gun free zones attract mass-murderers. The Aurora, Colorado, shooter selected the single theater in the area that banned concealed-carry.

(5) Following the Fort Hood terrorist attack, the world—including the Navy Yard shooter—learned that post-gun-ban military bases are inadequately defended targets. Such shootings may happen again as long as military personnel are disarmed.

(c) Repeal of laws and regulations disarming firearms-trained military personnel.—

(1) REPEAL.—Effective on the date of the enactment of this Act—

(A) Army Regulation 190–14, issued on March 12, 1993, is repealed; and

(B) Department of Defense Directive Number 5210.56, issued on November 1, 2001, as modified on January 24, 2002, and by any subsequent modification, is repealed.

(2) EFFECT OF OTHER FIREARM BANS.—Effective on the date of the enactment of this Act, any provision in any other law, rule, regulation, or Executive order that prohibits military personnel trained in firearms from carrying officially issued or personally owned firearms on military bases shall have no force or effect with regard to such military personnel, and such military personnel shall not be prohibited from carrying officially issued or personally owned firearms on military bases. This paragraph includes the relevant provisions in section 1585 of title 10, United States Code (relating to carrying of firearms), section 922 of title 18, United States Code (relating to unlawful acts), and part 108.11 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (relating to carriage of weapons).

Art Harman is the president of the Coalition to Save Manned Space Exploration. He was the legislative director and foreign policy adviser for Rep. Stockman (R-Texas) in the 113th Congress, and is a veteran policy analyst and grassroots political expert.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.