The December 6, 2019, Naval Air Station Pensacola attack reminded us once more that gun-free policies on military installations make U.S. troops sitting ducks.
Breitbart News reported that a gunman opened fire Friday morning in Pensacola, killing three innocents and causing numerous others to be transported to the hospital for injuries.
The Associated Press reported that the Pensacola gunman was an aviation student from Saudi Arabia, and NBC News reported that the gunman’s name was Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani.
He used a handgun to carry out his attack.
Pertinent to news of this horrific firearm-based attack is the fact that Naval Air Station Pensacola is a gun-free zone.
Breitbart News reported the air station’s gun-free status shortly after the attack. The station’s firearm policy, as described by Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, notes:
While federal and state laws differ widely on the subject, regulations pertaining to the registration, transportation, and storage of firearms on Naval Installations in the Mid-Atlantic area of responsibility are clear. According to the instruction, all hands share responsibility for adhering to regulations pertaining to the registration, transportation, and storage of firearms in the AOR.
The policy also points out that “state issued ‘concealed weapons permits’ are not recognized on any Navy installation.”
The firearm policy allows guns to be brought on base after obtaining approval from a commanding officer but notes that such firearms “may only be stored in the installation’s armory.” Moreover, during transport onto the installation, all firearms are to be “unloaded and secured with a trigger lock and ammunition must be carried in the farthest most possible location away from the firearm.”
In other words, men and women who have signed up for years of service to use advanced weaponry–including fully automatic weapons, guided missiles, drones with precision striking capability, and numerous other mechanisms–are forbidden from carrying a handgun on the station for self-defense.
Again, we are not talking about a fully automatic M4, an MP5, or other machine gun or submachine gun. Rather, we are talking about a 9mm handgun for self-defense. They are prohibited from carrying it even if they have a concealed carry permit on top of their military credentials.
The result is that no one can shoot back when an attacker pulls a handgun and begins shooting.
We saw the same thing at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009. In that attack, 13 innocents were killed in a firearm-based attack on a military gun-free zone.
We saw it again at Fort Hood on April 2, 2014. In that attack, three innocents were killed in a firearm-based attack on a military gun-free zone.
We saw it on September 16, 2013. In that attack, 12 innocents were killed in a firearm-based attack on D.C.’s Navy Yard.
As with the Fort Hood attacks, the horrific D.C. Navy Yard attack showed that if an attacker could succeed in sneaking his gun onto the premises, he was going to enjoy a period of time where he could shoot and no one could shoot back.
Sadly, we saw such an attack again on July 16, 2015, when a gunman targeted military offices in Chattanooga, Tennessee, killing five innocents. CNN reported that the Chattanooga gunman killed four marines and one sailor.
There are other examples that could be cited, but the point is sufficiently made–gun-free military bases create a problem.
We should be praising our men and women in uniform for their commitment to trade years of private life for the public cause of defending liberty. Instead, we stick them on military bases where they are defenseless if the individual next to them pulls a gun and starts to attack.
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at email@example.com. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.