Who Made Military Installations Gun Free Zones

The shooting at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday, which left 13 dead, including lone gunman Aaron Alexis, has sparked the usual contretemps (gun control vs. gun “rights”) and the usual conspiracy theories (Obama, basically). But the talking point taking firmest hold on the right is that the Navy Yard, where some 16,000 civilian and military personnel work, was left vulnerable because it’s a “gun-free zone”—and that it became gun free, as all domestic military installations did, due to a decree issued during the Clinton administration. Ergo...

  1. Who Made Military Installations Gun Free Zones
  2. Who Made Military Installations Gun Free Zones In America
  3. Who Made Military Installations Gun Free Zones Map
  4. Who Made Military Installations Gun Free Zones Florida
  5. Who Made Military Installations Gun Free Zones List

“It hasn't always been the case that only MPs can carry firearms on U.S. military bases. A mere twenty years ago, ‘gun free zones’ made their way to these facilities under the watch of President Bill Clinton,” Breitbart’s Awr Hawkins wrote, citing a Washington Times editorial published in the wake of the 2009 Fort Hood shooting that argued for an end to the “Clinton-era military base gun ban.” “In other words, thanks to Clinton, citizens who join the military to use guns to defend liberty abroad cannot practice their constitutional right to keep and bear arms while on active duty at home.”

  1. The Gun Free School Zones Act was held unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Lopez v. United States, 514 U.S. 549 (1995), because the law lacked a sufficient connection to interstate commerce. Congress thereafter amended the law to require that the firearm move in, or otherwise affect, interstate commerce. Back to main text.
  2. This policy includes those living on military bases who are not allowed to keep personal weapons in their domiciles. Regulation 90-114 regulates firearms on military bases and was implemented by President Clinton.
  3. Among President Clinton's first acts upon taking office in 1993 was to disarm U.S. Soldiers on military bases. In March 1993, the Army imposed regulations forbidding military personnel from carrying their personal firearms and making it almost impossible for commanders to issue firearms to soldiers in the U.S. For personal protection.

Citing the same editorial, Austin Peterson at the Libertarian Republic wrote, “[Alexis] was more equipped than the 12 people he killed on the base who were not permitted to carry weapons on the base thanks to former President Bill Clinton.”

Congress passed the Federal Gun Free School Zones Act of 1990 (GFSZA) and it was amended in 1995 to prevent guns being carried near schools. It states that one cannot knowingly possess a.

The Right Rant put it even more bluntly: “If you want to blame somebody besides the Navy Yard shooter, blame Bill Clinton.”

But Clinton might not even be responsible for this “ban.” The Washington Times piece, the source of most (if not all) of this right-wing blame meme, states:

Among President Clinton’s first acts upon taking office in 1993 was to disarm U.S. soldiers on military bases. In March 1993, the Army imposed regulations forbidding military personnel from carrying their personal firearms and making it almost impossible for commanders to issue firearms to soldiers in the U.S. for personal protection. For the most part, only military police regularly carry firearms on base, and their presence is stretched thin by high demand for MPs in war zones.

I have called the Times’ managing editor for opinion, Richard Diamond, for comment, but the editorial almost certainly was referring to Army Regulation 190-14, which was issued on March 12, 1993, by the Department of the Army. [UPDATE: Diamond confirmed via email that 190-14 was the source for the excerpt above.] If the Times editorial board had taken the care to actually read that 14-page document, it would have realized that the impetus for the Army regulation was, in turn, Department of Defense directive 5210.56, which was issued on February 25, 1992, and was considered 'effective immediately' for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Clinton, of course, did not take office until January 20, 1993. So if we’re going to blame a former president for a mass murder… see how ridiculous this all is?

What’s more, that directive—signed by Donald J. Atwood, George H. W. Bush’s deputy secretary of defense—was by no means a “ban” on firearms at military installations. It explicitly authorizes DOD personnel “to carry firearms while engaged in law enforcement or security duties, protecting personnel, vital Government assets, or guarding prisoners,” and simply aims to “limit and control the carrying of firearms by DoD military and civilian personnel. 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.”

It’s also worth noting that Alexis’s first victim was a security guard who, in accordance with that DOD directive, was armed; proponents of gun control have used that fact to undermine the NRA's proposal for armed guards at all elementary schools. [UPDATE: This New York Times piece reports that the security guard was killed later on in the rampage.] Now, whether allowing anyone at the Navy Yard to carry guns would have prevented more deaths yesterday—or whether those deaths would have been more than offset by random gun deaths there over the years, both accidental and otherwise, owing tothe prevalence of guns—is a separate debate entirely, and one I'll leave to television professionals:

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Who made military installations gun free zones in america

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump vowed to make Americans safer from attacks like those that left scores dead in Paris, San Bernardino, and Orlando. Eliminating restrictions that bar people from carrying guns places where firearms are currently banned, he frequently declared, is key to that strategy.

“I will get rid of gun-free zones on schools, and — you have to — and on military bases,” he said at a rally in Burlington, Vermont, in January. “My first day, it gets signed, okay? My first day. There’s no more gun-free zones.”

His promise resonated with his conservative base. The National Rifle Association has made doing away with gun-free zones a top priority, characterizing them as a “horror” that give criminal madmen and terrorists license to “destroy innocent lives unchallenged.” In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, 64 percent of Republicans said they supported allowing teachers to carry guns in schools.

But the reality of what it would take to dismantle the myriad laws and rules that have established the zones is far more difficult than Trump has made out. For starters, a president can’t simply order them out of existence by executive action, as Trump has implied. The United States Congress, senior military leaders, state legislatures — even private business owners — would all have a say.

Here’s why.

Who Made Military Installations Gun Free Zones

Trump can’t erase the laws that protect gun-free zones in schools without the help of Congress.

The Gun Free School Zones Act of 1990, introduced by then-Senator Joe Biden, prohibits a person from possessing or discharging a firearm within 1,000 feet of public or private school grounds. This rule excludes gun owners who have been permitted to carry concealed weapons after going through an application and testing process in their state. The measure had such tremendous support that it passed the Senate without a roll-call vote. In the House, just one Republican voted against the measure.

The Supreme Court struck down the act after a challenge claimed Congress had overstepped states’ authority in enacting it. But Congress redrafted the law in 1996, with minor modifications, and it has withstood other challenges made since then.

In Congress, there simply hasn’t been much appetite for repealing the law, even among Republicans. Bills have been introduced that would eliminate the restrictions, but they have never made it out of committee, according to Joseph Blocher, a law professor at Duke Law School. “I don’t see a lot of energy in that direction,” he told The Trace.

It was the military, not political leaders, that created the rules banning guns on bases.

Who Made Military Installations Gun Free Zones In America

The Department of Defense issued an agency rule in 1992 — during George H.W. Bush’s administration — that prohibits civilians and military personnel who are not on security duty or participating in a law enforcement investigation from carrying guns on military sites. Versions of the rule had already existed for several decades.

Military bases became a flashpoint in the gun-free zones debate after shootings at Fort Hood in 2009 and 2014 claimed 17 lives. In 2015, a shooter killed five people at a recruiting center and a Navy Reserve center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, fueling more opposition to the policy. Gun rights supporters said the attacks could have been prevented by an armed bystander.

While a Trump-selected Secretary of Defense could try to reverse rules governing guns on military bases, he or she would likely face staunch opposition from other senior military officials. “No one ‘disarmed’ the military — the military itself prefers to manage good order and discipline by not having everyone armed,” Steve Bucci, a former Army Colonel told PolitiFact.

Lieutenant General Mark Milley, the U.S. Army Chief of Staff who served as the commanding general at Fort Hood, said in April that allowing people to carry concealed weapons onto military bases as a means of thwarting attacks was unnecessary. “We have adequate law enforcement on those bases to respond,” he said.

Even though Trump can’t get rid of federal gun-free zone laws and rules, he can undercut their effectiveness by choosing not to enforce them.

Who Made Military Installations Gun Free Zones Map

While it might be difficult to wipe laws off the books, a president can influence whether agencies enforce existing statutes.

Trump, for example, could instruct the Justice Department not to charge people for violating of the Gun Free School Zones Act. Prosecutions under the existing law are already rare.

He could also work with Congress to weaken the law without repealing it, experts say. Congress could require schools to allow guns as a condition of receiving federal aid, for example.

Trump can’t get rid of the many gun-free zones controlled by states and private property owners.

While some states, like Georgia and Texas, have rolled back bans on carrying firearms in some public places, many restrictions still exist. Many states bar guns from courthouses, schools, and parks. These state statutes would remain in place even if Trump succeeds in chipping away at federal laws and rules.

Who Made Military Installations Gun Free Zones Florida

Even more removed from the power of the presidency are rules set by private property owners, who decide whether to ban guns in places like movie theaters, shopping malls, and convenience stores. There’s nothing a president — even Trump — can do here. And he might not even really want to. Some of the properties Trump owns, like Mar-a-Lago and the Trump Winery in Virginia, are themselves gun-free zones.

Who Made Military Installations Gun Free Zones

Who Made Military Installations Gun Free Zones List

[Photo: AP/Amarillo Globe-News, Michael Schumacher]