WASHINGTON, D.C. — Representative Duncan Hunter and Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) today introduced legislation to allow military officers the ability to carry weapons at military recruitment centers.
The Securing Military Personnel Response Firearm Initiative (SEMPER FI) Act, which was introduced today in the Senate and the House, allows the military to authorize recruiters to be armed when they’re at recruitment centers or allows them to improve structural security at recruitment centers. The bill also limits the carrying of a sidearm to officers and non-commissioned officers.
In February 1992, the Department of Defense (DoD) issued Directive 5210.56, which stated that DoD policy was to “limit and control the carrying of firearms by DoD military and civilian personnel.” The DoD reissued the Directive in April 2011.
“The fastest way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. It’s time to allow our men and women in uniform – including our military recruiters – to have all the resources they need to protect and defend themselves,” Daines stated. “It’s unfortunate that it took a tragedy like what happened in Tennessee to wake us up to the fact that there needs to be a policy change, and that our military recruiters should be able to defend themselves while doing their job making sure that we maintain the most effective fighting force in the history of mankind. ”
“What happened in Tennessee is an absolute tragedy,” said Hunter, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan with the U.S. Marine Corps. “All the talk about security upgrades to recruiting offices is fine, but the simple act of arming qualified personnel in these spaces presents the most effective line of defense. It’s a reality of the post 9-11 world that terrorists and radicals will look to strike soft targets and we shouldn’t pretend that incidents similar to what happened in Tennessee couldn’t happen elsewhere. Military recruiters embody the spirit, patriotism and values that not only make our military great, but our nation too. They are targets, as are others in uniform, and they should be afforded the type of protection that is adequate for the threat they face. We need to make it tough for anyone who might think of busting into a recruiting office with the intent to harm. Any person or group of people who make that mistake should know that there are a few Marines, soldiers or other service members on the other side of that door who’ve heard the sound of gunfire, who’ve had all the right firearms experience and training, and who aren’t defenseless.”
The SEMPER FI Act has garnered support from both the National Rifle Association and the Gun Owners of America.
“The NRA appreciates the efforts of Senator Daines and Congressman Hunter to repeal Defense Department Directive 5210.56, which our commander-in-chief has refused to do," said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action. “It’s outrageous that members of our Armed Services have lost their lives because the government forced them to be disarmed at their workplace.”
“Banning military recruiters from carrying firearms for their own protection is outrageous and puts lives at risk—especially because we know that these people may be targeted for attack,” said Tim Macy, Chairman of Gun Owners of America. “GOA applauds Senator Daines and Representative Hunter for taking decisive action to protect our service men and women.”
The full text of the legislation can be found here.