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Naval Station's Gun Restrictions Didn't Stop Shooter but Did Stop Sailors from Arming Themselves

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U.S. Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida was put on lockdown early Friday morning as shots rang out in what would be the second mass shooting on a stateside military base this week.

According to The Associated Press, three were killed and 12 more injured when an aviation student opened fire on his peers during a classroom training session.

The shooter, who has since been identified as Saudi Arabian national Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, was quickly neutralized — not by U.S. Armed Forces, but by two Escambia County Sheriff’s deputies during a standoff which ensued following law enforcement’s rapid response to the attack.

Why on earth would the sailors on base require local law enforcement response, you might ask?

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That would be because, according to a policy order from the Navy Installations Command, the base — and others like it — are gun-free zones.

Apparently, for the safety and security of the men and women who defend us, those same men and women are stripped of their Second Amendment rights in their day-to-day activities on-site.

In fact, “state issued ‘concealed weapons permits’ are not recognized on any Navy installation,” the policy order says.

Those who would like to bring a firearm on-site are required to cut through a sea of red tape in order to obtain the necessary approval.

“Prior to bringing a firearm onboard an installation, the owner must submit a letter to the installation commanding officer via his or her unit commanding officer,” the order indicates. “Upon approval by the installation commanding officer, the owner will be provided a card showing proof that he or she is authorized to carry a personal firearm.”

“Additionally, personnel who have firearms on board an installation are required to update their information cards annually.”

But even after doing so, that approved firearm is as good as a heavy rock for personal defense purposes, because it has to be transported “unloaded and secured with a trigger lock” with corresponding ammunition secured as far away as possible.

And once on base, the firearm must then be secured in the installation’s armory.

Why not just roll out the red carpet for those who wish to harm our men and women in uniform?

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Why not just hang a big, fat sign at the security checkpoint of each and every stateside base that reads, “Greetings, our sailors are unarmed!”

I don’t frequently ascribe outright stupidity to those I disagree with on matters of policy.

But this is downright stupid.

We trust these men and women with our lives each and every day. They are our first line of defense against threats foreign and domestic.

And we don’t even trust them to conceal loaded firearms on base?

Worse yet, we don’t care enough about their safety in light of seven deadly active shooter incidents on stateside U.S. military bases in the last 19 years — four of which occurred this year alone, according to ABC News — to allow them an opportunity to defend themselves at their places of work?

Do we need any more evidence that gun-free-zone policies are failing to keep us safe as Americans?

According to left-wing fact-checker PolitiFact, whether you’re listening to pro-gun or anti-gun advocates, most analyses show that between 70 and 97 percent of mass shootings take place in gun-free zones.

Do you think our our servicemen and servicewomen should be allowed to carry firearms on base?

Since the passage of policies like the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990, mass shootings — particularly school shootings — have only increased.

And I hate to break it to the anti-gun advocates of the world, but if these policies aren’t keeping our combat-trained servicemen and servicewomen safe, they are never going to keep the citizens of heartland America safe.

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Andrew J. Sciascia was the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal. Having joined up as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, he went on to cover the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for the outlet, regularly co-hosting its video podcast, "WJ Live," as well.
Andrew J. Sciascia was the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal and regularly co-hosted the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."

Sciascia first joined up with The Western Journal as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, before graduating with a degree in criminal justice and political science from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and worked briefly as a political operative with the Massachusetts Republican Party.

He covered the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for The Western Journal. His work has also appeared in The Daily Caller.