Friday, March 27, 2009

Be advised, the sky is not falling, guns are not being seized.

I've gotten a few emails and even seen on some of the other nuttier sites I read about the sudden flood of gun grabbing and registration supposedly going on at major military installations.

The first was a supposed email from a "worried" SF NCO, who was told he had to keep all his weapons stored in the unit arms room. Then a "worried" soldier at Fort Campbell, who is going round the bend because he's been told to register his weapons, identify where they are kept, and tell whether he has a CCW and what state it is issued in.

Be advised, the sky is not falling, and this is OLD news to anyone who's been in the Military longer than a day.

Most military bases have a policy wherein you must store privately owned weapons (firearms, bows, hunting knives, etc.) in the unit arms room if you live in the barracks (as most young, single soldiers do.) It's a proven fact that the barracks are generally populated by young, testosterone filled teenagers and twenty-somethings, many of whom spend their off time boozing and chasing tail (I speak from personal experience as a young cavalryman.) This doesn't apply to all service members living in barracks, but to many.

  • Many bases have problems with both gang and drug-related activity (Methamphetamine, Pot, and Ecstasy in particular.)
  • Weapons (and most other things) in a communal environment are sometimes stolen.
  • Unit commanders are responsible for EVERYTHING that happens in their barracks.

Some quick terminology:
  • Barracks--where unmarried enlisted soldiers are housed.
  • BOQ: Where unmarried officers are housed, if they don't live off post.
  • Family Housing (aka quarters)-where married soldiers and their families live, on base, if they are available.
  • Off-Base housing-where married soldiers and their families live when on-base family housing is not available.

All members living on post in government quarters (as I sometimes do, depending on duty station and availability) are required to register their firearms with the provost marshal. It’s been this way ever since I was a kid (at least).

Upon arrival at their duty station, until they register their weapons, they must store them in the unit arms room. I’VE DONE THIS MYSELF. Registration takes all of five minutes. They never even need to see the weapons, you just list the make/model and sn. There is no limit on the # you may own, nobody comes by to inspect.

While I am 100% against gun registration, I realize that

a) it’s a federal installation,

b) the commanding general makes the rules on base, and

c) it’s a privilege to live on base. If I don’t like it, I can live off base. As for living off base and still being required to register firearms, the policy says I must, but they’ve no right to make me do so… if the weapons belong to a family member, not me. My dog is a VERY well armed Labrador retriever.

As for the Policy, the actual CGs policy at Fort Bliss, it's here.

MFR Amnesty for Failure to Register Privately Owned Firearms
And the Fort Campbell CG's policy for Barracks is here:
Fort Campbell Barracks Policy 19

Finally, there has been a rash of suicides lately in the Army, with the percentage of population exceeding that of the civilian world. Given that most servicemenbers are male, and males ae five times more successful in attmpts, and guns are REALLY effective at suicide, and our youngest soldiers are the ones most likely to make bad decisions, (including suicide), I think it is a GOOD idea for ther privately owned weapons to be kept in a safe place, an managed by an older, wiser adult. Unless you can show me a population of 18-24 year old kids who never make dumb decisions.

The current policy is posted on


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