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.”
YOU DON'T NEED A GUN TO KILL YOURSELF. ABSURD.
Denny: That critical info needs to be passed on to a few of the evil bastards running this P.C. D.C Debacle Maybe they'd take the hint Hari kari, hemlock in the ear, disembowel their craniums; I'd grant 'em freedom of choice
COPY THAT Gringo!! ;=))
Back in the day, mine was a high-speed outfit and instead of open squadbay barracks, we had two or three-man rooms, not unlike a dorm. Hardly anyone did not have a weapon of some sort in their walllocker. Nobody killed themselves and no one killed another team member. But, admittedly, we were not patrolling endlessly nor fighting an enemy while bound by criminally stupid Rules of Engagement with allies who would just as soon shoot you in the back. We weren't saddled with the psychic trauma of having to smile at the dirt ball who had just emerged from his tent or house after taking part in a gang-rape of his 10 year old nephew or took part in the stoning of his 17 year old daughter.
Those things, wedded to a moment-by-moment fear of snipers or IEDs must do something to you over time.
Rather than use all this as a pretext of stripping their Second Amendment rights from those who wear the boots and carry rifles on our behalf, how about coming up with ROEs that don't leave us in as much fear of criminal prosecution as getting zapped? Or waging the war to win, which really can be done if you just unleash the fighters. Or paying attention to the mental welfare of your troops by not wearing them thin as well as giving them a chance to decompress, with the assistance of those who have been there, rather than just dumping them back in the World that could just give a rat's a$$ about them?
Clearly the Saboteur-in-Chief is playing for the other team... in more ways than one.
Sound observations Karl........
Being a Viet Nam combat Vet, we went through day by every day, step by step through a nightmare of scenarios. Fortunately, our rules of engagement were pretty simple. We operated in a "free fire zone". During the day, if they ran, shoot them. At night shoot anything that moved.. These troops today have more ugly potential threats AND THEY CAN'T ALWAYS JUST SHOOT BACK. I don't know how they do it. It definitely contributes to stress related mental health issues.
I remember when they put Petraeus in charge and he said the first thing he would do was change the ROEs. I was cheering. Then the big letdown. He didn't do squat. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. For me, he went from hero to zero. Just another political general. The lower case "g" is not a typing error.
A couple of years ago I had to go to a training session for suicide prevention for the soldiers. It was training on what to watch for in peoples actions, such as changes in behavior and basically personality changes. As much as I can remember there was not any mention of guns in the training. The point is that this is not a new problem, training 2 or 3 years ago, but may just be a new idea for gun control. Someone thought to themselves, hey the suicide rate for returning military has been high the last few years, lets see if we can use that to control ownership of private firearms. Remember, "Never let a crisis go to waste.", one of the democrats involved with the Obama cabal.
Sometimes the Tree of Liberty needs to be watered with the blood of patriots and tyrants.I believe that time is almost upon us.God willing we will come out of these times with a stronger Republic than we had before it started.lock and load
There are several initiatives started from coast to coast that are attracting people. We all need their names, (RED Letter folks - I sent to Twana). And Y'all- We all need each other's e-mails and phone #s. Twana has mine. Expand your "FRIEND Base" here. Po Wows need people. There is someone who knows how to teleconference with whom many of us are acquainted - - -Phase1 discussion needs to be upgraded to planning.
I have given this subject a great deal of thought and I have come to the conclusion that the suicide issue may simply be the means to achieve another goal. I'm sure that most of you recall that some time ago DHS issued a publication which labeled returning veterans and others who think as we do as potential terrorists. My conclusion is that they are using this as a cover for disarming recent veterans. Should things go south in a hurry come election time these active duty and recently returned veterans represent a substantial force with which to confront the current regime if they attempt to postpone the election or suspend the Constitution. If the usurper and his minions attempt either of the scenarios I just mentioned I'm sure one of the first things they would do is ban all firearms sales. And, as we all know the bureaucrats within ATF and other federal agencies would march lock step with whatever orders come from the White House. This is not their first attempt to confiscate privately owned firearms from the troops.
I'm in total agreement with you on this, Marvin. Well, put. You voiced my thoughts exactly. So the question becomes, how do the returning vets deal with this other than NOT telling their CO's about their personal weapons? Also, since here in Massachusetts, all guns must be registered, what do we do when they come for them?
It is my understanding--and perhaps some Constitutional attorney could remedy any error I make--
IMO the US Constitution is supreme law of the land. and every Judge in every State is administered a
solemn oath to support the US Constitution ,amendments to it, and then all laws Pusuant to it (the
Constitution) A State law requiring all "guns be registered" cannot violate the US Constitution nor the
amendments to it. Registration cannot infringe upon the right to keep and bear arms.Therefore the
individual must decide #1 if registration will infringe upon his 2nd amendment rights.Then #2 he decide if
he will register his weapons.The State may not require of the citizen what it does not know exists.If a man
needs a weapon and has none because the man feared registration would infringe upon his second
amendment rights then he will suffer the loss.If a man needs a weapon and uses it to defend his property
or his life and the State says The weapon was not registered---which has priority the violation of State law
or the risk of loss of property or ones life? The returning veteran will pass through several customs
declarations if he was from Mass. he probably knows of the law. And must decide for himself how he will
respond. We are facing a time when the Second Amendment may again become to every individual as
vital as its principles were when the Bill of Rights was first debated in Congress. We have neglected it and
our written US Constitution and amendments to it far too long. And suffer from our neglect and ignorance.