Army Chief of Staff: Bases Should Remain Gun-Free Zones, Concealed Carry Wouldn't Have Stopped Fort Hood

Posted: Apr 09, 2016 8:55 AM

With military centers and bases coming under attack in recent years, Sen. Mike Lee wanted to check in with Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley about what was being done to better protect personnel. He also questioned whether the Army would consider allowing soldiers to carry their own personal weapons on base as a first line of defense.

“With respect to … recruiting stations, such as Chattanooga, the assessments are done by the local commanders…and make a determination whether it was appropriate or not appropriate to arm them. So he delegated the authority in the assessment to the commanders, which is appropriate. Commanders should make those decisions because one size won’t fit all,” Milley said, noting differences in locality and risk.

“In terms of carrying privately owned weapons on military bases … that is not authorized, that is a DoD policy and I do not recommend it be changed,” he said.

Law enforcement on bases is more than adequate, he said, explaining that during the 2009 Fort Hood shooting, the police responded ‘pretty quick.’

“You take the Ft. Hood incident … those police responded within 8 minutes … so that’s pretty quick, and a lot of people died in the process of that, but that was a very fast evolving event and I am not convinced from what I know that carrying privately owned weapons would’ve stopped that individual,” he said.

“I’ve been around guns all my life, I know how to use them, and arming our people on our military bases and allowing them to carry concealed privately owned weapons I do not recommend that as a course of action,” Milley continued.  

Considering that the average police response time for emergency calls is 10 minutes, Milley is correct to point out that law enforcement’s 8-minute response to Fort Hood was relatively quick. But, as he also noted, many people died within that time—13 to be exact, with 30 others injured.

Unfortunately Milley did not elaborate on why he believes someone with a privately owned firearm couldn’t have stopped Nidal Hasan, but DoD policy aside, providing personnel with at least the opportunity to defend themselves immediately seems like a course of action that should be considered. Allowing them to continue being sitting ducks seems like the bigger issue here.