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U.S. Opinions: Washington

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An off-base idea

From an editorial Tuesday in the Washington Post:

After any mass shooting, a vocal faction in Congress insists that Americans would be safer if more people carried guns into restricted public places. But now that Fort Hood, Texas, has seen its second rampage in five years, the argument seems stronger when applied to military bases.

Many current and former commanders disagree, including Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, Fort Hood’s chief. These officers are right, and lawmakers should not impose their views on those who run these military bases.

The Defense Department has considered, twice, putting more guns in the hands of on-base personnel: after the 2009 Fort Hood shooting and after last year’s Washington Navy Yard massacre. Both times, the Pentagon declined to change policy, deciding that arming more people on base would pose safety problems and prompt additional, costly weapons training.

The Defense Department’s policy: Base commanders can authorize certain people to carry weapons. If Congress must do something, it should examine whether the Pentagon needs to invest more in well-organized, official on-base security.

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