The Blaze did the world a service by digging up the truth on why U.S. military bases are disarmed “gun free zones” except for certain authorized guards. While dozens of conservative commentators rushed forward to blame an Army regulation imposed under Clinton’s watch, few noticed what the Blaze caught: that regulation applied only to the Army (not the other branches), but more importantly was acting upon a previous directive of disarmament imposed under the former president, Papa Bush.
Read my lips: no new taxes, and no personal carry on military bases. If only he would have lied about both instead of only the first.
In short, disarmed military bases? It’s Bush’s fault.
But even the Blaze report did not note that the Bush directive itself references a previous “DoD Directive 5210.66, ‘Carrying of Firearms by DoD Personnel,’ March 17, 1986.” It is possible, therefore, that similar policy stems from the Reagan era. My suspicion is that it goes back much earlier, even.
Of course, the question is why. There are not too many people trying to explain the reasoning behind such directives, whoever’s fault they may be. Liberal writers point to different factors: one claims the military desires intimate knowledge of even soldier’s privately owned (even if off-base) firearms due to the dramatic increase in military suicides (ending the insane wars, apparently, has not occurred to them).
Another writer points to the language of the Bush directive:
[T]here’s a clue in the phrase: “[T]he necessity to carry a firearm shall be… weighed against the possible consequences of accidental or indiscriminate use of firearms.” Having a bunch of armed people walking around increases the chance of a gun-related accident or altercation. The military, especially, values discipline and doesn’t like accidents.
Perhaps. Perhaps. But these sound like post-hoc rationalizations to me. The common sense just seems so much the opposite. As Judge Napolitano told Fox, “It’s insane to keep weapons away from soldiers on bases.”
A large part of the problem, however, is what we have consistently criticized from the perspective of biblical law: that is the issue of a standing army to begin with (see my The Bible & War in America and Restoring America). The laws for kings (Deut. 17) and the laws for military and warfare (Deut. 20) both make clear that a militia system is the biblical way.
It’s interesting in this regard that the Second Amendment has reference specifically to have “A well regulated militia.” Now liberals love to point to this fact in their pitiful and sadistic attempt to deny the right to individuals. “It’s only for militias,” they say. But this is nonsense. Nevertheless, it should be of interest to us that militias were the stated means of preserving freedom for which individuals have that right, and which the Amendment expressly recognizes.
This means that in the original design, American would not be defended by a standing army, but by free individual citizens who would be already armed and called into a militia only when necessary.
All kinds of evils can come about when standing armies are made the norm. These stem from the fact that the military is an executive department ruled by executive, Department of Defense directives and regulations. Bases are DoD property, and the DoD makes its own rules. For whatever reason—suicide rates, accident prevention, too many video games, whatever—it can force soldiers to remain disarmed on base. Any attempt at lawsuit will run up against the property rights issue and the contract issue. Both of these, among others, will legitimize the entire bureaucracy and all of its regulations.
Unlike free citizens who are armed in case a militia is needed, these are servants of an executive bureaucracy who are bound by their own signature to work in gun free zones when told to do so. There is a world of difference. And that difference has proven costly.