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.”
Gun Runner/Fast and Furious killed a bunch of people to include our own border guards, but it didn't raise the outrage to the crescendo level the progressive left wanted to pass legislation against personal gun possession. Now they're going after military segments, which would be expanded to even greater application, eventually denying all of us the right to own firearms. Evil does what evil is..........Obama and his socialist/communist/ anti-freedom gaggle of misfits.
Harry, it starts with the Military and trickles down to the Civiliam population. They are pushing the complete dis-armament of the Military and Civilians so they can exercise AGENDA 21 and bring the United States into the fold of the UN, so we can all be singing "Come by ya", with the Dictator in Charge.
Could there be any correlation between the DoD's rules (1) under the "gay loving" Commander in Chief, (2) that command our troops to fight a war where they never win but just keep fighting and dying, and (3) requiring our troops to violate the oath they took to uphold the Constitution while their officers are consistently seen as kisssing "___" of a Commander in Chief who provides perverted leadership in ways that are blatantly un-Constitutional.
It appears to me that our standing military is about to be abandoned in enemy territory, cut off from military backup, and left on their own by a Commander in Chief who could give a damn whether they make it home on their own or not, while he builds a "domestic police force" to provide a power grab in America by way of a manufactured crises that justifies his use of recent legislation granting him power to declare martial law, taking from the public anything he deems necessary, and preventing (by law) any elections for up to five years. Again, my opinion, but it seems that we are on the verge of losing our 2nd Ammendment Rights just as all of this power is put into the hands of an American president who supports the Muslim Brotherhood, declares that he chooses Islam over Christianity, and who walks, talks, and functions in the shadows of Communist leaders/Communist activists/Socialistic principles and values. Without our 2nd Amendment Rights, or the ability to exercise them because our weapons have been taken, we have so very little left to protect our unalienable rights that it is pathetic. Any activities or movements by our nation's military leaders to disarm our troops of their personal firearms is just another foot in the door towards tyranny.
You said it well, Chuck. So very sad and yet it keeps moving forward.
I think you hit the bulls-eye Chuck...........the NRA is our last bastion of defense against the anti-gun nut-cases. If you're not a member of the NRA, consider joining........everyone............
@ Chuck In light of all that is known about Afghanistan - http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081222202100AAALz0a what rational, patriotic leader would allow us to remain there as it is potentially far more suicidal, (for our whole nation), than the existance of personal firearms among the troops. With regards to homosexuals and Muslims serving in our military, our "leaders" have aided and abbetted to increase anxiety and depression which "triggers" suicide and murder. Folks this is one for the wives of retired military and parents of active duty troopers. POTUS and the JCS all need to be soundly beaten to a pulp by a mob of purse weilding mothers and grandmothers and deliver to Holder what he needs for the Fast and Furious "Gun Running" forget the gun control. Add the screams of these offenders to 4th of July fireworks; what could be more appropriate?
NOW IS THE TIME FOR ALL GOOD PEOPLE TO LOCK & LOAD...............OVER OUR DEAD BODIES,
WHO IN THE HELL DO THESE PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE...........TIME FOR OBAMA TO BE IMPEACHED.....LIKE THEY CARE ABOUT OUR SERVICE MEMBERS...........(B.S.)
Harry, the entire fast and furious program was intended to be used for the anti gun folks to demand stricter controls, it just went awry when Mr. Terry got murdered. That was what I thought all along. Remember Obama telling, damn can't remember the name, the one who was shot years ago and crippled, and his wife that he was working on gun control "Under the radar". This bunch is evil and will stop at nothing to try to take our means of defense against them.
1) Brady, shot in the head in the attack on Reagan,
2) Brady survived but his wife, Sarah Brady, became the mouthpiece for such anti-RKBA outfits as Handgun Control, Inc. and Violence Policy Center.
3) The insanity excuse was one of the attacks on Second Amendment rights, by way of an administrative move by the Veterans Administration to unilaterally and without hearing suspend the gun rights of any veteran who'd sought counseling.
And then, of course, there was this bit of news back in 2000:
"Surgeon-General David Satcher, the top public health official in the US, one in five Americans suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder each year and half the entire population have such disorders at some time in their lives."
Doesn't the ATF form 4473 have a disqualifier for mental health issues?
If you can get a psycho-political operator to declare all your political enemies insane, you can suspend their civil rights and disarm them. Who needs a coup?
4) The APA, one of, if not the largest and most influential of all the psychological organizations, was essentially taken over by homosexual activists / Leftists back in 1973, (see SATINOVER, THE TROJAN COUCH, and NARTH dot ORG). They would be more than willing to declare those pesky, patriotic, heterosexuals insane (which is the premise behind 'homophobia').
5) Returning Veterans, and other Bible, and Gun-clinging Americans had been targeted by Clinton's FBI's Project Meggido as being potential terrorist threats. The project was dusted off and brought out again by the clueless Napolitano's DHS not too long ago. Keep in mind that the Obama regime has an awful lot of the same operators that were in the Clinton regime.
6) Still, returning vets need counseling to address the zap that's been put on their brain housing group by the stupidity-induced stress from the heavy burden of stupid ROE's, etc...
How do you get the vets the help they need without endangering their rights?
Thanks Karl, don't know why I couldn't think of the name. Sometimer's I guess. Sometimes I can't remember a thing.
If the military is identifying at-risk individuals and limiting their access to a gun, I see nothing wrong and would think the NRA would be happy to see gun-suicide statistics improve. For this reason, I think I don't have the whole story here. The NRA--I am a member--is very thorough when we look into these kinds of issues. I would like to hear the NRA take on it. Perhaps the military is assuming the right to restrict access to firearms to anyone and not only those at-risk for suicide. What is the rest of this story?