Marines and civilians in Marine Corps law enforcement will be allowed to conceal personal firearms on bases following several shootings.
The Marine Corps announced the policy change in a press release on Tuesday following two separate shootings at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii on Dec. 4 and Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida on Dec. 6.
“These tragic events prompted Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC) to accelerate existing efforts to develop concealed carry policies,” states the memo, released by Lt. Gen. George Smith, Deputy Commandant, Plans, Policies, and Operations.
The new policy “authorizes the Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC) to grant permission to Marine Corps uniformed and civilian personnel to carry a POF aboard Marine Corps property for personal protection not in the performance of official duties or status.”
An estimated 3,200 individuals will be eligible to carry their personal firearms under the new policy, Marine Corps spokesman Captain Joseph Butterfield said.
Retired Marine Corps officer Dakota Wood told the Washington Examiner that he thought the new policy makes sense, given that military law enforcement personnel are well-trained in firearms.
“So it would seem kind of silly, at least it has been to me, that you would have somebody fully trained and authorized by the service to carry a weapon when they are in uniform in an active law enforcement role, but then they are somehow irresponsible or they couldn’t use that same tool in similar circumstances if they’re not in a duty status,” Wood said, noting that he believes the same privileges shouldn’t be given to all Marines.
The U.S. military has also increased security measures in other ways following the two deadly shootings in December.
Although the details of the increased security measures were left out, U.S. Northern Command, known as Northcom, said on Twitter that it directed its installations to “immediately assess force protection measures and implement increased random security measures for their facilities.”
Our CDR directed DoD installations, facilities & units in NORTHCOM's area of responsibility to immediately assess force protection measures and implement increased random security measures for their facilities.
See something. Say something. (2 of 2)
— U.S. Northern Command (@USNorthernCmd) December 8, 2019
The increased security measures come following the two deadly shootings in December.
Gabriel Antonio Romero, a Navy sailor, shot and killed two Department of Defense workers, Vincent Kapoi and Roldan Agustin, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii on Dec 4. He then killed himself at the scene.
On Dec. 6, an aviation student from Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, opened fire in a classroom at the Naval Air Station Pensacola on Friday morning, killing three people in an attack the Saudi government quickly condemned and that U.S. officials were investigating for possible links to terrorism.
Notably, the new concealed carry policy does not apply to classrooms, in accordance with the “Federal Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1995,” courtrooms unless previously authorized by the military judge, or where otherwise prohibited by law.