Should military recruiters be armed in the US?

In the wake of the morally repulsive shootings in Tennessee at the Naval and Marine Corps recruiting centers, I’ve already touched on the question: Why not let our military warriors carry concealed weapons?

When I was in the Army years ago working as an MP, I was on a specialized unit charged with certain missions that required us to be armed at all times. Military Police duties include protection at military installations worldwide and, while some places have DoD police, others still task MPs with that responsibility.

As a result, I still have in my possession the military ID that allowed me to carry concealed weapons. The Provost Marshal of the installation granted these permits to a few of us and, whether I was in uniform or wearing plain clothes, it didn’t matter, I could carry a weapon concealed.

I did however realize at the time that this was an exceptional circumstance, as I was also keenly aware that when you join the military, instead of being less restrictive about gun ownership as one may have assumed, it’s more restrictive. I couldn’t believe when I enlisted that I couldn’t bring my personal weapons on a military installation unless I got my commander’s approval and stored my guns in the company arms room. Forget that. I’m an American.

Knowing this makes me wonder, what’s happening these days and what’s going to happen now that the troops carry rights are under review? MPs do not have these extra duties at all military installations anymore and, really, I see no need for that. Every soldier is trained in basic tactics, or at least they should be. Sure, some may need refreshers and some training with pistols and “use of force” (versus “rules of engagement,” a term applied to war), but every service member must be familiar with these areas.

Which brings me to the point of this article: Let the military recruiters carry guns.

My reasoning here is simple and, like a lot of reasoning when it comes to self-defense and the defense of others, preemptive in nature. I don’t think anybody would disagree that, as our military soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines go anywhere around the globe, they are constant targets of attack. But we now must wake up to the reality that they are still targets of attack when they are home serving in the US. We’ve had shootings by wackjobs at Fort Hood, Texas, Tennessee, at Naval stations in the northeastern part of the US, and although not at a military installation or against military personnel, in Garland, Texas, which certainly had a tinge of anti-military sentiment.

After these tragedies, I don’t think anybody anymore can, in good conscious, refuse to recognize the very real threat facing our troops at home or not support measures that would help these men and women better protect themselves on and off the job. Unfortunately though, more often than not it seems we fail to do either of these things when faced with acts of terrorism.

Why wasn’t it enough to consider arming our troops so they could protect themselves in noncombat zones after the attack on the USS Cole in 2000 or after the kidnappings of US troops in the Philippines and in Germany in the 80s.  We should have realized long ago that US troops would be targeted at greater numbers, especially after 9/11.  I mean, if the enemy is willing to murder innocent civilians, then obviously, they’ll try to target men and women in the US Armed Forces. And that is why our troops need to be armed, and I don’t mean just during war or in warzones.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of

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