Misinterpreting Regulations

This Washington Examiner column has it wrong, in claiming that Hasan was allowed to carry a firearm on base:

Not only is he not arrested, but he doesn’t even seem to have been monitored. And according to new regulations issued in June, he is permitted to carry a privately purchased gun on base, like all other personnel at Fort Hood, provided that it is properly declared at the access point.

No, he wasn’t. If you read the Military Police regulation carefully linked in the quote, you will notice that carry on the base is restricted to certain activities. This regulation in no way shape or form authorizes military personnel, who are not authorized to carry firearms as part of their duties, to carry a loaded firearm on base.  See here:

When a firearm is authorized to be worn exposed, the official badge of the employing agency will be conspicuously displayed and visible to the casual observer.

This would apply to Military Police, and other personnel who are authorized to carry firearms in accordance with their duties. But later in the regulation, you have what conditions you’re allowed to transport firearms under:

When authorized according to paragraph 5c, weapons transported by person must be carried in a closed case or container, and must be unloaded when not engaged in authorized hunting, target practice, or other activity which permits the use of weapons. When engaged in an activity that permits carrying a loaded firearm, the firearm will be carried openly or in a holster or case as appropriate for the type of firearm.

Such activities that permit carrying a loaded firearm are:

  • Hunting.
  • Target shooting.
  • Performing duties as a member of and related to the Cattlemen’s Association.
  • Other authorized sporting events in which the weapon is used in connection with competition or as part of a legitimate display.

But what if a person has a Concealed Handgun License from the State of Texas?

Military personnel, government employees, and civilians authorized and licensed by the State of Texas to carry a concealed handgun according to the Texas Concealed Handgun Law cannot carry a concealed handgun anywhere within the boundaries of Fort Hood.

So Hasam was not authorized to tote a firearm around on base. The regulation is confusing to those not accustomed to reading legalese, and it confused me at first too a bit, but once you read the whole thing, it’s easy to see the regulation does not allow carrying of a firearm on one’s person by anyone who is not authorized to do so as part of their duties.

5 thoughts on “Misinterpreting Regulations”

  1. Privately owned weapons are highly restricted on military bases. They are required to be stored in the armory. Unless you are a Police Officer or MP, you are not carrying a loaded weapon on base.

    While we often carry our issued weapons during exercises, soldiers are forbidden from leaving the ranges with live ammo.

    “Regular” Soldiers and Marines (the ones who do the actual fighting), are rarely issued ammo outside the ranges in the U.S. I carried a loaded rifle a few times while guarding an armory, that’s it. I think it dates back to Vietnam paranoia that draftees are going to mutiny or shoot their officers – even though it has been an all-volunteer force for over 3 decades.

    As soon as we got overseas – they took pallets of ammo and grenades off a truck and we took all we could carry, then extra cases for the vehicles. Unbelievably, none of us went on a killing spree (of other Americans) even though we were all armed to the teeth.

  2. Most military bases are disarmed.

    As the AT/FP guy for my unit I’ll be advocating for a selecting arming program to allow some unit personnel to carry firearms with JAG-approved ammunition on a daily basis as a force protection measure. I am not optimistic. Most commanders would prefer that a dozen folks die in an “unforseeable” act of violence than to take the risk of one person having an accident discharge.

  3. Based on my experience on Ft Hood, I can carry my personnel firearm, unloaded and in a locked container on the post for legitimate purposes. If I am stopped at the gate for a vehicle inspection I must declare that I have a firearm. Before Jun 09, if you wanted to come on post with a firearm to hunt or target shoot you had to have the weapon registered on post. However none of these policies or rules would have prevented what happened on 5 Nov.

  4. Sorry folks, but you all have it wrong. The news has it wrong for mentioning carrying the weapon, i.e. loaded on his person, but you all have it wrong in terms of the regulation. FH 190-11 was updated in June to add language that says someone can bring an unloaded, locked in case firearm out of reach of the driver, onto post if it is declared. The change in June added a line very similar to the “for all other legal purposes”

    If the phantomclerk website were working right, you could find FH 190-11 on that link off hood.army.mil I have a copy of the regulation at the office, and have talked to soldiers who have brought weapons on post using the new regulations. It must be unloaded, ammo separate from firearm, and locked somewhere the driver can’t get to it (trunk, lockbox if no trunk), and it must be declared at all control points.

    David, who works at Ft. Hood.

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