The Pentagon appears ready to take on gun rights advocates this year in order to give commanders the ability to restrict troops at high risk of suicide from keeping their personal firearms easily available in their homes.
Some Army leaders had previously encouraged troops to use gun locks on their weapons at home, or recommended that high-risk troops lock up their personal weapons on base if they were believed to be high risk. But the National Rifle Association and gun advocates objected and Congress barred that practice in last year’s defense authorization bill.
But with military suicides continuing to climb, key leaders are not giving up on regaining a tool they considered helpful in saving some troops’ lives.
“There’ll be a broad discussion on that,” Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki told Military.com Wednesday, after a senior Pentagon official stressed the importance of the policy at a conference on military and veterans suicide.
Dr. Jonathan Woodson, an Army Reserve brigadier general who serves as assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, had told the conference the services must get better at recognizing people at risk of suicide and then doing what they know works to improve the odds.
“In many circumstances, awareness of risk means removing firearms from those who we believe are at risk of harming themselves or others,” he said. “I would ask all of you at this conference to commit to making reasonable recommendations that will guide uniform policy that will allow separation of privately owned firearms from those believed to be at risk of suicide.”
Those may prove to be fighting words to the NRA, which lobbied for the ban on personal gun restrictions even as the Army revealed its increasing numbers of military suicides and made the link between the deaths and personal weapons.
Former Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli, in an interview with CNN, said the best way to reduce suicide among troops is to take the weapons away from those who appear likely to hurt themselves.
“A majority of [suicides] have two things in common, alcohol and a gun,” he told the network. “And when you have somebody that you in fact feel is high risk, I don’t believe it’s unreasonable to tell that individual that it would not be a good idea to have a weapon around the house.”
The NRA, however, not only thought it unreasonable, but the director of its lobbying arm called it “preposterous,” arguing Army leaders’ actions were intrusive on soldiers’ rights to own their own guns if they chose.
Chris Cox slammed a proposal to make restrictions that were being applied locally into a military-wide policy.
As a result Cox, the NRA and Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe crafted legislation put into the 2011 defense bill that barred the secretary of defense from issuing any regulation or policy on legally owned personal firearms or ammunition kept by troops or civilian employees off base, or from collecting any information on their guns or ammo.
The Pentagon this month released figures showing that military suicides jumped after leveling off in 2010-11. Figures show that 154 servicemembers took their own lives during the first 155 days of 2012.
“We know that firearms play a prominent role in completed suicides, particularly with males,” Woodson said. “We need to have a straightforward conversation in our community about what actions make a difference, and it is about communities, it’s not about authorities imposing regulations, but about preparing communities to be partners in this process.”
I find it interesting that the "experts" have decided that the two aggrevating factors in GI suicides are alcohol and guns and what do they want to ban? The guns, no comment on the booze. I worked for some years in the military mental health field and one thing I learned was that "if someone is determined to commit suicide, taking away their gun will only change their method, they will still find a way.
So this is just another attack, using fallable "facts", to support their burning desire to destroy the 2nd Amendment.
Given the fact that DHS considers returning soldiers to be potential domestic terrorists, I have to wonder who would NOT have these restrictions slapped on them at the recommendation of commanding officers who are in bed with the current regime. I am not saying that all commanding officers are in bed with the traitor in chief, but I am thinking there are enough of them out there that they could make a significant impact by spitefully restricting a soldier's access to their own personal firearms.
But, sometimes, when someone goes off the deep end, they don't just kill themselves. I have a daughter who is a nurse at a VA hospital, and there has recently been a very dangerous and scary gun incident at her workplace. Obviously the man was a very traumatized individual who seriously needed help, but when I think that I could have lost my girl to a situation like this, I have to wonder where we should draw the line between 2nd ammendment rights and safety of the public at large.
I'm sure there is a way to solve this without making blanket policies and procedures. Perhaps it should be done on a case by case basis....treating each soldier with the respect and dignity that he/she so deserves. I'm not sure how this could happen, but in my view of a perfect world, it would be a board of non-military personnel, perhaps in the soldier's hometown who would sit with each returning vet and be sure that PTSD needs are identified and addressed with all the resources we have to help these brave souls.
I guess those NOT being considered for disarmament would be Obama's Civilian Defense Corps, who was supposed to be "just as well-equipped, just as well-trained....."
I wonder if the New Black Panthers who were standing in front of the polling place and caught on video, armed with billy clubs and intimidating voters might be potential candidates for his Civilian Defense Corps.
Golly, I thought the Constitution allocated the raising of an army and navy to Congress.
I also thought Congress was the legislative body of our government.........apparently Obama makes "immigration" law.........
In his Dreams Obama was selected to be the anointed one. A man with such utter contempt for our Constitution and way of life --who used Congress so contemptuously --when he had a Democratic Party numeric control of both Houses --has not altered his public appearance of contempt for that body he once was party to . All I see when head shots are published of him is a little paperhanger who did to the German people what Obama has done to America.
We can't "draw the line" between The Second Amendment and public safety; they are in different universes. "...shall not be infringed." is absolute. Over the years, starting with "The Sullivan Act" and others, we have allowed many infringements against The Second Amendment, among which are the National Firearms Act of 1934, the Gun Control Act of 1968, and the Firearm Owners' Protection Act of 1986, along with thousands of other national, State, and local laws, all of which are unconstitutional.
Today's Americans have had the idea of "Freedom" beaten out of them, being taught that there is some "common ground" between freedom and complete control. This, simply, isn't so -- a white shirt with a tiny black spot on the front will be perceived as "dirty". Likewise, a "right" with even the tiniest of government-imposed restrictions is no longer an absolute right, but a "privilege" which is granted and regulated by a government.
People clamor for a "Big Brother" or a "Nanny" to establish boundaries and punishments for "coloring outside the lines", and this situation is where we find ourselves, the unworthy progeny of America's Founders. Most men are not cut from a cloth which will allow them to exercise their agency as free men; they do not have absolute moral compasses and are, therefore, unsure if they are making good and righteous choices, hoping that "I was just following orders!" or "I was within the limits of 'the law'!" defenses will suffice when faced with their final judgment.
It's unfortunate that these GI's choose -- as free men -- to end their lives, but we must admit that the choice was left to the individual, as God intended. With a merciful Father in Heaven and the atoning sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, these men can repent and find eternal salvation.
Freedom is a dangerous thing.
Harry ,you are right . Obummer has used the Military as his lab rat since he repealed DADT. That was such a success he now wants to prove the second Amendment can be infringed upon at will. The excuse given is they want to take away the guns because guns can be used in suicide. ...and they want to limit suicide.Problem is In my daily walks I cross over two bridges/over-pass . And a third bridge crosses the Colorado river. If one was of a mind to they could jump off any of these bridges. The drop wouldn't kill them unless they jumped into traffic.If jumping down to the highway or even the Interstate a car could swerve -but one of the bridges crosses over a double train track as well-trains don't swerve or brake very quickly.The river is running low already but there is a good amount of mud and debris build up around bridges. There are also all manner of knives,bottles,pills, and lots of stuff one could use to hang themselves if they had a mind to . Not to forget gasoline or other combustibles. if one wanted to go out like a Vietnamese Monk.The notion that they only want to put a brake on suicide is a very poor lie. Guess they think nobody reads anymore.
R.J.B. You gott that Right especially the brake on suicide. If that was the true concern, they'd be pulling us out of Afghanistan several Yesterdays ago.
What a bunch or idiots! Bring them home now and I guarantee that the suicides will at least slow down if not stop. What do you expect from a bunch of kids doing 3 and 4 rotations into a hell hole for no real reason. Either let them win the war or get them out now. Personally I would prefer to just nuke the bastards.
As an old Army buddy of mine used to say, "Nuke til they glow then fly in C5As loaded with concrete and pave it over and make a WalMart parking lot out of the whole place."
This has absolutely nothing to do with reducing the suicide rate amongst the troops. This is simply more of the military's anti gun policy. I know from first hand experience that the US Army is one of the most anti gun organizations in the country. Some time ago there was a move afoot to require that troops living off base register their personal firearms with the authorities on the base where they were assigned. To be very blunt about it, the US Army does not trust ANY of their personnel with firearms. The fact that during a time of war there was not a single armed service member present to stop the Fort Hood shooter is a very sad commentary on the state of our military. The problem of suicides by military personnel is a medical problem caused by disastrous policies established by the senior military and civilian leadership. Imagine our troops, during WWII or Korea, having to abide by rules of engagement as they currently exist in Afghanistan. Add to that the fact that because of the nature of the conflict in Afghanistan our troops are spending more time in combat than those who fought in WWII. For however long they are deployed to Afghanistan there is no respite. They are always on the "front line". All of this PC garbage should come as no surprise, especially to those who have spent a great deal of time in the military. It is always easier to point a finger at the troops rather than to admit that the problem is bad policy at the top.
Marvin, I think you may have hit the nail in that last sentence there!