Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Washington Navy Yard Already Suffers the Restrictions That Gun Control Advocates Favor
...But the unhappy truth is that the scene of the crime, the Washington Navy Yard, is subject to many of the restrictions that gun control advocates favor. And the perpetrator, Aaron Alexis, had passed a background check for a security clearance. Unfortunately, laws and databases don't create magic forcefields against criminal intent....

...The Quantico summary clarifies interpretation of the rules for the base, adding, "Under no circumstances will the transportation of loaded or concealed handguns, shotguns, or rifles be permitted on MCBQ except under those situations outlined in paragraph 7 of this Order." That's specific to Quantico, but there's little reason to think that's at wide variance from policy anywhere else.

Then-President Clinton issued an order in 1993 (PDF) severely tightening gun restrictions at all Department of the Army installations. The directive said in part, "The authorization to carry firearms will be issued only to qualified personnel when there is a reasonable expectation that life or Department of the Army (DA) assets will be jeopardized if firearms are not carried." The same rules seem to apply to the other branches of service, to go by the Navy regulations above.

That makes military bases much like other "gun-free zones." They're only as well protected as the willingness of would-be perpetrators to follow rules allows, along with the ability of a thin line of personnel authorized to carry arms to deter or stop criminals.

And detecting would-be perpetrators isn't as simple as imposing ever-tougher background checks. Aaron Alexis passed such a check. "Alexis had a security clearance that was updated in July, approved by military security service personnel," said Thomas Hoshko, CEO at The Experts, Alexis's employer....