After two more recent fatal shootings on military bases, gun rights activists are pressing President Donald Trump to fulfill a campaign promise to repeal a Clinton administration order banning servicemembers from carrying firearms on base.
An active-duty sailor opened fire on three fellow servicemembers at the Pearl Harbor naval base Dec. 4, killing two. Three victims were killed and eight wounded when a Saudi national, on base for a training exercise, opened fire Dec. 6.
In every case, the killings were carried out by someone who brought a weapon onto base and targeted defenseless servicemembers. Servicemembers are prohibited from carrying weapons on base ever since a 1993 Defense Department directive issued by the incoming Clinton administration.
Mass shootings on military bases were almost non-existent before the order. Since the gun ban, military bases have become shooting galleries.
The most notable case was a 2009 mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, carried out by Army Maj. Nidal Hassan which killed 13 troops and wounded 30. Hassan opened fire in a cafeteria, targeted unarmed victims for several minutes until armed police finally arrived and shot him.
After the 2013 mass shooting at the Navy Yard facility in Washington, D.C., newly-elected Congressman Steve Stockman introduced legislation repealing the ban by an act of Congress.
“Following the Fort Hood terrorist attack, the world—including the Navy Yard shooter—learned that post-gun-ban military bases are inadequately defended targets. Such shootings may happen again as long as military personnel are disarmed,” Stockman’s bill read.
Congress failed to pass it, and at least three mass shootings have since been carried out at gun-free military facilities.
In 2015, then-candidate Trump promised he would repeal the ban if elected President. “As Commander-in-Chief, I would mandate that soldiers remain armed and on alert at our military bases,” Trump told Ammoland.
Trump has yet to repeal the ban. “If we can’t have our military holding guns, it’s pretty bad. I’m, going to look at that whole policy on military bases,” Trump said in speech at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Committee conference.
“You know the five great soldiers from four years ago, three of them were world-class marksmen,” said Trump. “They were on a military base in a gun-free zone.”
“They were asked to check their guns quite far away. And a maniac walked in, guns blazing, killed all five of them. He wouldn’t of had a chance if these world-class marksmen had — on a military base — access to their guns,” said Trump.
There still has been no action from the White House on that promise.
After the Pensacola shooting, The Hill reports dozens of Navy pilots have issued a letter to the Defense Department demanding the Trump administration, “discontinue what has become a severe irony burdening our servicemembers: that they can be entrusted to fly multimillion-dollar aircraft over hostile territory, command companies of infantrymen into battle, or captain ships around the world, all while holding the nation’s top security clearances, but when back home are not trusted to carry a simple pistol in order to protect themselves.”
The pilots have asked to remain anonymous, as they are challenging official policy.
“It is reprehensible that a military installation, much less its warfighters based there, be at the mercy of off-base, civilian law enforcement when faced with an immediate threat to their lives,” the pilots write.