This week, Rare featured a story on Senator Rand Paul’s pending legislation that ensures military personnel aren’t disarmed while on duty. To accomplish that goal, Paul’s office introduced the “Service Members Self Defense Act of 2015” on Thursday. The legislation contains three key provisions, as detailed in a statement released by Paul’s office:
Requires the Secretary of Defense to amend U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Directive5210.56, within 30 days, to allow members of the armed forces to possess firearms for defensive purposes.
Clarifies the carrying of a concealed weapon by a member of the armed forces, on DOD property, is not a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice or 18 USC 930 – Possession of firearms and dangerous weapons in federal facilities.
Allowing for the carrying of a concealed weapon by qualified members of the armed forces, with national reciprocity, in accordance with state and local law.
In the same statement, Paul explained the logic behind his bill.
“I find it ridiculous that the brave men and women serving in our armed forces are asked to defend us overseas but cannot protect themselves once they return home,” he said. “My bill ensures that our honorable service members are allowed to protect themselves while serving our nation at home.”
Given the killings at Fort Hood, Texas, the Naval Yard in Washington, D.C., and now the recent shooting at a Naval recruiting office in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the issue of whether our military members are being made easy targets has come to the political forefront.
This is an especially sensitive issue in light of threats made by hackers allegedly associated with ISIS, in which the names and addresses of 100 service members were released with a call for “homegrown jihad” against them.
Senator Paul’s bill, while comprehensive on a federal level, does not attempt to contradict existing state gun laws. Further measures to arm personnel can be taken up by states, however, especially as they pertain to National Guard installations.
Just days ago, Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker took action on this matter in his home state of Wisconsin. As governor, he issued an executive order that allows Wisconsin National Guard members to carry weapons for self-defense purposes while on duty.
Whether more states follow suit and Senator Paul’s bill gains traction remains an open question.