On Thursday, July 16, 2015, I watched in horror as the events in Chattanooga unfolded. The day was frightening for me, most especially because I have two sons who have long military careers ahead of them. While the news reports were coming in so quickly, I contacted both of my sons to confirm their safety. However, tomorrow is a new day. Will they be safe when they report to a military base then? Will they be able to protect themselves?
Former President Bill Clinton is often credited with removing the right to carry weapons. However, the fault is not his. The Department of Defense issued a directive1 in February 1992, during the presidency of George “41” Bush, that stripped our service members of this right. During the Clinton Administration, in March 1993, this directive became a regulation, 190-142, issued by the Department of Defense. It was not an executive order, but a DoD regulation.
According to an unclassified FBI report3 released last September, between 2000 and 2013 there were 160 active shooter situations. Of those 160, sixteen of them took place on military bases or government facilities. At none of those locations did anyone have a means to defend themselves.
After learning of these facts, I contacted a recruiter for the US Marine Corps who has asked to remain anonymous. He is reeling today over the events of yesterday. One of his friends is fighting for his life after surgery last night. We talked about the law that prohibits these men and women from protecting themselves and how the outcome from yesterday could have been very different. He firmly agrees that members of our armed forces should be allowed to carry a weapon, even on federal property.
This prompted me to ask how much training with weapons our military men and women receive. He stated that regardless of their assignment or position, each member has two weeks of training with a rifle every year. Furthermore, they have to reach “expert” level when they go to re-qualify every year. Then, on their own time, and with their own money, they often work to meet the same requirements with a handgun. If these Marines are in an infantry unit, they work with a weapon every day in some capacity.
It’s probably not a secret that I have a concealed carry permit for my handgun. I carry my handgun everywhere I can get away with carrying it. I’m completely unafraid to use it. Over the Independence Day weekend, we held a shooting contest at my home with some friends and family. I competed against my son, who is in the military, and I won. I’m a pretty good shot! I practice once a month for about an hour and try to place the holes on the target close together. However, I do not have to re-qualify every year. I do not receive advanced training for two weeks every year. And I do not have to hit certain places on the targets I bring home every month.
So, why is it that I (a middle aged, out of shape woman with no specialized weapons training) am allowed to carry a weapon with me every minute of my day, yet a young, well-trained, well-conditioned, highly qualified Marine recruiter is not? Meanwhile, this Marine is required to wear a uniform that has become a target of Muslim extremists, and generic crazy people, to work every day!
Unless you are living under a rock, it should be clear that it is time for this absurdity to end. Law 190-14 needs to be rescinded! We need to call this what it is. There is an enemy who has declared war against us, even though our government has announced that the war is over.4 All the statements by presidents and congressmen mean nothing to those who seek to destroy us. Eliminating the right of our military men and women to defend themselves has only made it easier for Islamic extremists to reach their goal – total annihilation.
I’m tired of playing this game. I’m tired of sending our kids into harm’s way by allowing them to go to the recruiting center or the military base. I take this personally – my adult children spend a great deal of their time at military facilities. If God gave them the right to defend themselves, and they have a desire to defend their nation, then by what authority does the Department of Defense tell them they cannot?