With high profile shootings at military installations still very fresh in the mind of the nation, troops’ carry rights are currently in the news after several governors removed gun bans at their state’s military facilities. But as is often the case, these gains for gun rights have been mired in debate over specifically where soldiers should be allowed to carry and whether military personnel should be allowed to carry to and from bases.
The way I see it, there are three main areas of debate that opponents will use to prevent troops from being armed and protecting themselves at a much more generous level, (e.g. carrying concealed and/or open carry outside of military installations, fully locked and loaded):
1. The Posse Comitatus Act
In short, this law was enacted back in 1878 (and updated several times) to prevent soldiers from being too involved in citizen-military actions in the US (by soldiers, I’m including all branches of service, though it should be noted that this law only specifically applies to the Army and Air Force while the other branches generally follow it as common practice). This act is essentially a check on the Federal government that prohibits them from using their military to act as domestic law enforcement.
Of course, this hasn’t stopped the US from doing anti-drug missions at the southern US border or standing guard with M-16s at our nation’s airports following 9/11. (The latter, however, was mainly made up of state National Guard troops who can be given state authority to act as police.) Additionally, doesn’t declaring a national state of emergency allow the troops to arm themselves for protection outside of military installations?
Really, the Posse Comitatus Act is a complicated talking point with a lot of threads, but I do know that with whatever occurs, it will be a major hurdle if we really want to see our troops carry concealed weapons for their own protection outside of military installations.
Post-traumatic stress disorder gets a criminally poor treatment in the media and I don’t think most people understand what PTSD is and what it does. I believe a lot of people think that troops and veterans who have PTSD are time bombs that are going to go crazy and start killing everyone for no apparent reason. On the other side of the coin, we still have people in this country who continue to deny or downplay the very real effects of this disorder.
While PTSD associated violence does happen—very rarely—most people with military-related PTSD, aren’t prone to violence and their symptoms are far more internal and subtle. My book, Warrior SOS: Military Veterans’ Stories of Faith, Emotional Survival and Living with PTSD, shares the stories of dozens of veterans in their own words. I feel listening to them is the only way we will be able to gain insight into this debilitating and treatable disorder.
With a foreword by former Delta Force commander, Dalton Fury, and an endorsement by Glenn Beck, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman and others, these sometimes heart-wrenching and often inspirational stories show that surviving combat and being changed by war doesn’t condemn troops with PTSD down a path to murder. In other words, troops, including those with PTSD, can be trusted, which leads me to my third point.
Trust is probably the most crucial of these three areas of concern and debate. Will military commanders, who are ultimately responsible for the actions of all their troops, trust all of the men and women in their command? Will the Commandant of the Marine Corps, or the Generals and Admirals of the Army, Air Force and Navy give any sort of carte blanche to their troops, allowing them to carry concealed firearms? Will Joint Chiefs embrace such an idea?
Smaller or more elite units might, but those of us who’ve been in the trenches, so to speak, know there are knuckleheads in the service—guys who’ll cause serious problems; young kids and older boots alike who make really dumb decisions. Can these troops be trusted?
I suppose trust is the leading issue that has spurred the concealed and open carry debates among citizens too. Well, that and those who are totally anti-gun, anti-freedom and totally clueless when it comes to violence and self-protection. Rest assured, those in the military don’t have that problem. Well, at least not the guys I knew and worked with.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.