With the recent incident in Tennessee where a Jihadi decided to shoot up a recruiting station and a Navy / Marine Depot, there have been many calls for the Department of Defense to allow more uniform military personnel to carry weapons. I say more, since there are some who already carry or possess weapons as part of their daily jobs. Principally facility security forces and DOD civilian police.
First off, I support doing all that we can to better arm and protect those who protect us. Without question. So let me get that out of the way. But watching the television and the talking heads, and frankly, the know-nothings in the civilian world prattle on is getting annoying. I have some knowledge of these issues and understand some of the logistical problems individual facility and senior commanders face. So if we are serious about actually changing the military policy towards individual weapons, everyone would be best served by being educated so we can all sing from the same sheet of music. Make sense?
Now, we need to start with some pretty simple concepts. So before people start bitching about 4-star generals who “just don’t get it” and rolling our eyes at local governors who simply issue orders that aren’t even actual orders but more like press-conferences, let’s get down to brass tack’s shall we:
1. Not all military “facilities” are the same. Or equal. Camp Pendleton is different than a Naval-Marine Reserve Depot which is very different than a recruiting station in a strip mall. The larger bases have armed security forces, arms and arms rooms. The depots typically have arms rooms. The recruitment centers typically don’t have anything. So guns can’t just magically appear at the snap of some fingers. Actually, the entire US Military is setup so that kind if stuff can’t happen. With any weapons system. Be it a tank, a plane, a rifle or a rocket. It’s amazing how many civilians don’t understand this!
2. The DOD and US Government bureaucrats will demand that military weapons be distributed, within a defined and organized and audit-able chain of custody. Weapons don’t float around with soldiers. Where are recruitment stations going to get their M4’s or M9’s from? A parent unit with an arms room? Will they transit at the beginning and end of everyday to checkout and check-in those arms? What if that unit is 50, 100 or more miles away? What if the most reasonably located arms room is part of a different command or branch? Another option: will they install GSA rated arms rooms at every recruitment location in the country? Or will the DOD allow US Military handguns and M4’s to be taken home every evening by recruiters? You want to see a 2-star flag break into a cold sweat at night? Tell him Marines under his distant command might have a US Property Marked, Class III Machine Gun, with a 14″ barrel (A standard M4 Rifle), locked in a vehicle of some disparate ant-farm apartment complex. Starting to see the problem from the DOD’s point of view?
3. The US Military is not going to allow personal weapons to be carried while in uniform; on duty, if that weapon’s presence is going to alter or change the officer or enlisted uniform of the day. i.e. HQMC is not going to allow Service Uniforms Alpha, Bravo or Charlie to wear a privately purchased shoulder holster with that individual Marine’s favorite Kimber, or SIG, or Colt pistol in it. You can just flat out forget appendix carry in anything other, than maybe, utilities with a blouse on. Maybe. Your best bet is to get the DOD to allow one or two standard make of belt or thigh holsters that an approved individual weapon must fit in. And old style flap holster on the belt would be a good compromise as well. Astetically. And be warned, the DOD will also want to implement standards on how that weapon looks. Gold plated Desert Eagles and half-naked Bomber Girl Art or punisher grips for your 1911 won’t be approved.
Federal and military weapons storage regulations: for the guy who is going to roll in and say that every recruitment station should just buy a Browning Safe and be done with it, they can’t. The DOD and federal government in general, has an arms room standard they follow. It is run by the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Indiana. The rooms and doors have very specific requirements. Everything from man-hour ratings against surreptitious attack to radiological attack stats. Even the locks are GSA (Government Service Administration) rated and controlled. And locks and doors can only be installed and serviced and re-certified (yes, certifications expire) by GSA approved locksmiths. If a non-GSA locksmith even puts his dirty fingers on the dial, you risk immediate de-certification. Which means the room is not legal to store federal or military arms in.
Here is what a typical GSA Arms Room looks like. I know since I walk through one about 20 times a week.
The politcal fallout from this incident has brought up some interesting issues most people in America don’t think much about. US Soldiers armed on US Soil. The differences between a USMC Class III M4 and a civilian semi-auto AR-15 and maybe how the National Firearms Act of 1934 is antiquated and no longer practical? Lone wolf attacks and simply how difficult they are to prevent. And the practical concept of having a gun on your person as opposed to the uselessness of “in the armory”.
Now it’s time to kick the DOD and the 4-stars in the nuts with another fact. In Israel, soldiers and reservists walk around all the time with “machine guns” slung over their shoulders. Note how they use a mag-block device to manage the weapon being loaded. But a standard capacity magazine is always ready to go. On board the rifle or on their person.
And finally, a public service announcement. If you are going to step up as a citizen-militia to guard our military recruitment centers, be prepared to be gear checked. Especially on the inter-webs. Rifles missing sights will probably be called out. Any port in a storm as they say. But frankly, I’m looking at one of these guys and guess he went out and bought that rifle the day before. If so, has be test fired it? How about zeroed it? Oh, wait. He can’t since he has no sighting device for reference. How competent is he likely to be if a jihadi takes him up on his offer for a fight? But I don’t want to get too wrapped around the axel with “training” either. Thousands of people every year successfully defend themselves using a firearm with NO TRAINING whatsoever. But…I’ll toss them a bone and just assume they are Fairborn-Sykes acolytes who have achieved Bob Munden level point-shooter status.
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