Gen. Mark Milley, the Army chief of staff, came out strongly against the carrying of private guns on military bases as a security measure in the wake of shootings at Fort Hood, the Washington Navy Yard, and a recruiting station in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Milley, who assumed his current post in August 2015, was testifying alongside acting Secretary of the Army and former democratic congressman, Patrick Murphy before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
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Sen. Mike Lee (R., Utah) asked Milley about what the Army has done to better protect personnel and if the Army would consider letting soldiers carry their own weapons on bases.
"Such as recruiting stations, such as Chattanooga, the assessments are done by the local commanders … and make a determination whether it was appropriate or not appropriate to arm them. So he delegated the authority in the assessment to the commanders, which is appropriate. Commanders should make those decisions because one size won't fit all," Milley said.
"But some of the constraints on that: people have to be trained, it must be a government owned weapon, can't carry privately owned weapons, et cetera."
Milley then answered about larger bases, saying that his preference for increased security is that it would be better for more police and guards.
"In terms of carrying privately owned weapons on military bases, concealed, privately owned weapons, that is not authorized. That is a DOD policy. I do not recommend that it be changed. We have adequate law enforcement on those bases to respond," Milley said.
"You take the Fort Hood incident number two, the one where I was the commander of Third Corps, those police responded within eight minutes and that guy was dead. So, that's pretty quick and a lot of people died in the process of that, but that was a very fast, evolving event and I am not convinced, from what I know, that carrying privately owned weapons would've stopped that individual. I've been around guns all my life, I know how to use them, and arming our people on our military bases and allowing them to carry concealed, privately owned weapons, I do not recommend that as a course of action."
The incident at Fort Hood that Milley referenced occurred on April 2, 2014, and left three dead, excluding the gunman. Shootings such as this and another at Fort Hood has sparked debate over whether uniformed military members should be allowed to carry firearms for self-defense.