NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


November 13, 2009

Time after time, public murder sprees occur in "gun-free zones" -- public places where citizens are not legally able to carry guns.  The list is long, including massacres at Virginia Tech and Columbine High School along with many less deadly attacks.  Last week's slaughter at Fort Hood Army base in Texas was no different -- except that one man bears responsibility for the ugly reality that the men and women charged with defending America were deliberately left defenseless when a terrorist opened fire, says the Washington Times.

Among President Bill Clinton's (D-Ark.) first acts upon taking office in 1993 was to disarm U.S. soldiers on military bases:

  • In March 1993, the Army imposed regulations forbidding military personnel from carrying their personal firearms and making it almost impossible for commanders to issue firearms to soldiers in the United States for personal protection.
  • For the most part, only military police regularly carry firearms on base, and their presence is stretched thin by high demand for MPs in war zones.

Because of President Clinton, terrorists would face more return fire if they attacked a Texas Wal-Mart than the gunman faced at Fort Hood, home of the heavily armed and feared 1st Cavalry Division.  That's why a civilian policewoman from off base was the one whose marksmanship ended Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's rampage, says the Times.

Everyone wants to keep people safe -- and no one denies President Clinton's good intentions.  The problem is that law-abiding good citizens, not criminals, are the ones who obey those laws.  Bans end up disarming potential victims and not criminals.  Rather than making places safe for victims, we unintentionally make them safe for the criminal -- or in this case, the terrorist, says the Times.

Source: Editorial, "End Clinton-era Military Base Gun Ban," Washington Times, November 11, 2009.

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