I’ve been reading and watching the discussion go back and forth on this subject in the wake of the latest Fort Hood shooting and I cannot believe how frustrating the whole spectacle has become for me. I keep seeing the media parade around a bunch of serving and former officers who have been loudly denouncing any concealed carry efforts on military installations for “safety” reasons. I may have blown a fuse when I saw the Army Chief of Staff—General Ray Odierno—get in front of congress and firmly state that he did not support arming American troops on bases and posts in the continental United States. First off, do not get me started on the military’s senior leadership and their risk-averse culture… I may go down some rabbit hole on an epic super rant. Let me attempt instead to provide some analysis—something none of these people have done thus far.
First point, we’ve already armed these same young men and women 24/7 in combat zones and they do not generally go around shooting each other. I believe that in the last thirteen years I can count the number of “Blue on Blue” incidents on one hand.
Second point, the argument for arming people on military installations only applies to allowing legal permit-holders to carry concealed firearms. A right that they already enjoy the moment they leave the gates and venture out into civilian society.
Third point, back in the continental United States (CONUS) it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to own a handgun.
Fourth point, young servicemembers that live in the barracks (or dorms, single soldier quarters, etc.) have to store their personally owned weapons in the unit arms room. This highly restricts their access to firearms—particularly during off-duty hours when the unit armorers are off enjoying their down time as well. This effectively makes drawing and carrying a concealed weapon off duty for a junior servicemember impractical at best.
Fifth point, the servicemembers who will have easy access to firearms are the ones that live in their own quarters, and those personnel are usually married with families.
Sixth point, if civilian firearm ownership is any guide then it is logical to conclude that most military families do not own a firearm at all.
Seventh point, few firearm owners actually go through the trouble of getting a concealed firearm permit, which means that only a small percentage of military personnel with ready access to their weapons do so as well.
Conclusion: The demographic within the military that actually have concealed carry permits consists largely of senior non-commissioned officers and mid-grade to senior officers. These people almost all have families, are somewhat older, and are seasoned combat veterans. As such, these are exactly the people that you would trust to deter and neutralize violence on military installations.
There are other points I could make as well, but the bottom line is that arguments against allowing concealed-carry permit holders to exercise their rights on bases and posts are based upon hysteria, risk aversion and a lack of critical thinking. Let us hope that logic will win the day.