U.S. House lawmakers are putting pressure on the Senate and Obama to resolve the debate over whether or not personal firearms should be allowed on military bases.
Members of the House Armed Services Committee added language to their draft of the annual Defense Authorization Bill that will withhold 15% of the Defense Secretary’s policy funding if the firearm policy isn’t resolved by the end of the year. If the policy is passed it will allow authorized individuals to carry personal firearms on military bases and will also make it easier for military spouses that regularly relocate across state lines to purchase firearms for home defense.
The policy is being drawn up in response to the 2015 mass shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, that left five service members dead. The Armed Services Committee recently added language to the bill that will allow base commanders more leeway in determining who can carry an “appropriate firearm” on base. These “appropriate firearms” may include some personal weapons. The goal of the policy is to prevent future mass killings by arming key members of each facility.
–Flashback to last year–
Chattanooga shootings are being treated as "act of domestic terrorism," U.S. attorney says. pic.twitter.com/XV4zwoRyL1
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) July 16, 2015
The proposals are both being introduced by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif. He’s calling the proposals a basic defense of our soldiers 2nd amendment rights. He hopes that the bill will prevent future massacres and is stressing the importance of safety and human life over the faux-security banning the weapons creates. He said in a statement:
“These are lives. These are soldiers lives, sailors and Marines.”
Democrats are opposing the Armed Services Committee’s plan to withhold funding over the issue. They argue that the bill could be potentially harmful to troops on the basis that more guns may not make bases safer. Which begs the question: if trained military service members are unqualified to handle firearms in emergency situations, who is? Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash. clarified the Democrats stance in the following statement:
“Yes, they should give us the report, but we don’t want to tie the hands of the office of the secretary of defense to do their best to provide for the military, the presence of more firearms in a place may not make it safer.”
Despite their objections to firearms on military bases the Democrats have shown little resistance to legislation that will make it easier for military spouses to purchase firearms. The constant relocating that accompanies military life can often make it difficult for the spouse of a military member to purchase a firearm after moving across state lines.
The new amendment would make military identification cards acceptable forms of identification for firearm background checks and would clarify that their state residency is based on their spouses duty assignment.
The policies must still be approved first by the U.S. Senate and then by Obama before they will go into effect. However, Hunter and other members of Armed Services Committee are confident that the threat to withhold the Defense Secretary’s policy funding should spur action before the end of the year.
Do you think the Senate and Obama will sign the policy into law? Sound off in the comment section below!