A Tweet shared by NRA News spelled out the heart of the issue in 140 characters or less. A woman identified as “Military Mom” authored a post referencing the Fort Hood 2014 shooting which said, “All he [son] could do was hide.”
Second Amendment supporters, and likely many Americans in general, simply cannon wrap their heads around the fact that the men and women tasked with protecting us are left with no means to protect themselves when on base. WHNT News out of Alabama tracked down the military mom in the Tweet and offered her a chance to expand upon what happened to her son, Jason, during the Fort Hood shooting.
Lynda Voyles-Konecny told the reporter that her son was just 100 feet from the shooter – and was totally vulnerable since he was unarmed. He survived.
“They [the news media] started describing the buildings where these things were going on. I knew exactly where my son was and where the shooter was because I’ve been to Fort Hood,” the still visibly shaken military mother stated during the interview. “Jason had been stationed at the Texas military base for the past seven years. It’s hard to talk about, had he had that weapon, I’m confident he would have taken out that shooter. He didn’t have a weapon to defend himself with.”
Voyles-Konecny’s comments echoed those of military loved ones, veterans, and stunned Americans who once again watched the aftermath of a live shooting at Fort Hood. Soldiers, sailors, Marines, and members of the US Air Force are trained to handle guns, evaluate a situation quickly, and respond accordingly. They’re asking: If the military men and women are trusted with the most lethal and advanced weaponry available when off base, why can’t the same individuals be trusted with a simple handgun when in the barracks?
Voyles-Konecny also said, referencing why she is for changing the base rules:
Well for one thing, they’re trained. They know the rules of engagement, we send them off to war, they have their guns. They come home, and then they’re taken away from them on their home bases. They can’t defend their family, their coworkers, they can’t defend themselves. I think we should have a dialogue to find out why and where we can improve. I think we need to have a defense where you have at least two officers that can be armed in all buildings on all military installations.
The Fort Hood soldier mom also noted that every adult member of her family holds a concealed carry permit – putting them in a better position to defend themselves than her Army son. Private weapons have been banned on all military bases in the United States since 1993. Even after the second deadly Fort Hood shooting, armed forces officials are still standing behind the policy to ban guns on bases.
Story continues below video.
“When they passed that law, we were in a different world entirely than the one we’re living in now,” Voyles-Konecny told NRA News.
After the first shooting massacre on the Texas base in 2009, the weapons restriction at Fort Hood was not lessened, but expanded. According to a report in The Washington Post, the decision to further limit the ability of the soldiers was based upon an “epidemic of suicides” on the post. The current policy at the base mandates that all soldiers register their personal weapons with their commanders and keep those weapons in a locked arms room. If a soldier’s weapons is lost, or even possibly lost, it must be reported to a commander within two hours. Concealed carry guns are not permitted even if the soldier has a state or county permit to do so.
The Department of Defense policy states:
The authorization to carry firearms shall be issued only to qualified personnel when there is a reasonable expectation that life or DoD assets will be jeopardized if firearms are not carried. Evaluation of the necessity to carry a firearm shall be made considering this expectation weighed against the possible consequences of accidental or indiscriminate use of firearms. DoD personnel regularly engaged in law enforcement or security duties shall be armed.
After the shooting at the Navy Yard last fall, Republican Texas Representative Steve Stockman drafted a bill which would allow both federal civilians and service members to carry their personal weapons on a military base.
“Our disarmed military bases are vulnerable targets for terrorists, as we saw in Fort Hood and the Navy Yard,” Stockman said. “The result is two mass killings where defenseless soldiers had to watch as their friends were murdered.”
Do you think US military members should be able to arm themselves when on base? Let us know in the comments below.