After you recover from the shock of learning that Saudi pilots are training with American soldiers on our military bases, you’ll inevitably stumble across another stupefying question. How is it that the Saudi terrorist attacker at the Pensacola Naval Air Station was shot dead by local Pensacola sheriff’s deputies, while not a single sailor – officer or enlisted – had any firearm to defend himself? Well, much as President Trump promised to shut down visas from countries like Saudi Arabia, he also promised to end the gun-free zone status for our soldiers on bases. The time has come for him to fulfill both promises.
Last night, the House and Senate conference committee filed the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2020, authorizing up to $743.3 billion in defense spending. It includes $71.5 billion in funding for more “overseas contingency operations,” AKA nation-building in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. But what is the point in funding such escapades if our soldiers can’t even arm themselves on our own bases? Why does Congress never debate the fundamental values, mission, and character of our military? It’s all about dollars and cents and never about policy. Now is the time for Trump to demand that real issues be dealt with in the NDAA, including arming soldiers on bases, or else he should use his authority as commander in chief to change the internal policies.
In the face of mass shootings on military bases, Trump promised emphatically to end the suicidal policies disarming our soldiers. Between terrorist attacks at Chattanooga and Fort Hood and domestic shooters on several other bases, it has become clear that base security only serves to deter good people with guns. As we painfully learned in Pensacola on Friday, the impervious security clearly didn’t stop Mohamad Alshamrani from bringing in a Glock .45.
Speaking at the February 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference, President Trump promised to “look at that whole military base gun-free zone [policy]. If we can’t have our military holding guns, it is pretty bad,” lamented the president as he mocked the gun-free zone policy. “We had a number of instances on military bases. You know that. We want to protect our military.”