Saturday, March 8, 2014

Is The Military Truly Defending Our Freedom?

I am a concerned citizen who is wondering about whether or not the military is truly protecting my constitutional rights.  I recently was made aware that citizens are not allowed to carry firearms on military bases. I am concerned, because I believe in my 2nd amendment rights, the right to bear arms.  This has led me to ask the question, is the military truly defending my freedom?
 
The United States prides itself on being the land of the free. So, what is freedom? According to Google it is defined as “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.”  Now who would provide hindrance or restraint? Depending on your age you would either say your parents or the government.  As an adult, or old enough minor, if you do something the government disapproves of, you may be fined, given community service, put under house arrest,  incarcerated, sentenced to death, or any combination of the a fore mentioned. The freedom we enjoy in this country was designed by the nation’s founding fathers. They were intentional in their wording of the Constitution and of Bill of Rights.  They listed things that the government should never do, thus providing us with enduring freedom. 

 Among those many and wonderful rights is the second amendment:
“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
 Before we continue “well regulated” in vernacular of the founding fathers really means well equipped, trained, and armed. Here is more on that

Being raised  in the United States we are told over and over how the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines are always out there risking their lives to defend our freedoms. The basis of that claim is the oath of allegiance every member of the military swears:

“I, _____, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."
Does the military  protect the country from foreign threats? Yes. But do they defend our rights from domestic threats? IE the government?  When entering a military base, you will notice that the bases are gun free zones.  If you have ever tried to exercise your second amendment right on a military base, and got caught, you are more than likely reading this in prison. So you might be thinking, “What's the big deal? Bases need to be safe.” Here's the thing, access to bases are not very restricted.  You can drive on to them and they are more like suburbs with grocery stores, schools, and other conveniences.  They have more in common with a gated community than what is portrayed on TV. In fact I, a civilian with civilian parents, went to high school on a military base. Everything that happens in a normal suburb happens on a military base including speeding tickets, robberies, murders, and mass shootings. And the second amendment does not have exceptions for any gun free zones. So how does the military rationalize violating citizen’s right to bear arms? I tried to email the Commanding General of Fort Carson to get an answer:  (I have altered the email to remove the officers identity, but kept my spelling and grammar mistakes…)

Dear Fort Carson Commanding General,

I am a civilian. I have a Colorado concealed weapons permit. And I just called to see if I can conceal carry on Fort Carson. After first being told I could I was then told that I cannot conceal carry or even have the pistol in the vehicle on base. And if caught I would be brought up on federal felony charges. I know the commander of the base has the power to decide what is allowed.  I'm just very confused why someone who would swear to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic" would choose to violate the 2nd amendment of the constitution and force their subordinates to violate their oaths by arresting, prosecuting, and imprisoning someone for merely exercising their 2nd amendment right?
Don't worry I won't bring my pistol on base and I will try to avoid coming on base as much as possible due to the inconvenience of having to secure the weapon elsewhere. But I would like you to think on this.
I'm curious how you rationalize this and I would love to hear that this policy will be changed.

Sincerely,
A very concerned citizen.
P.S. I look forward to hearing from you. And BTW your Commanding General hot line website seems to be non-functional.

Instead of the commanding General I got the Public Affairs Officer and got a reply with the law and regulations that violate our rights:
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

Sir - Here is the federal law governing possession of firearms and dangerous
weapons in Federal facilities.  It does not differentiate between open or
conceal carry. I have copied all the regulatory guidance we follow. Thank you for inquiring on this matter. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

18 U.S. Code § 930 - Possession of firearms and dangerous weapons in Federal
facilities
(a)Except as provided in subsection (d), whoever knowingly possesses or causes to be present a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a Federal facility (other than a Federal court facility), or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both.
Here is the regulatory guidance on conceal carry, weapons registration, and transportation of a privately owned weapon.
Prohibited & Regulated Conduct (FC REG 210-18)
2-4-h. Concealed weapons.
(1) Only authorized personnel (e.g., law enforcement personnel in the performance of their duties) may possess a concealed weapon on FC. County, state, and federal civilian (non-law enforcement) concealed carry permits are not recognized or valid on FC.
(2) Under no circumstances will the transportation of loaded or concealed handguns, shotguns, or rifles be permitted, except by duly authorized law enforcement personnel, or by military personnel in the performance of their official duties. However, small knives (3 inch blade or less), that are not prohibited weapons, Gerber Multi-tool, Leatherman, and similar tools may be carried in any manner.

2-2. Registration.
a. Personnel who live on FC and maintain a privately owned firearm on this installation will register the firearm(s) with the Directorate of Emergency Services (DES), Security and Access Control Division. This requirement applies to all personnel regardless of status or rank (e.g., military, Family member, guest, unaffiliated civilian, etc.), and regardless of which of the authorized locations (e.g., Family housing, arms room or the Police/Provost Marshal Division (P/PMD) is used for storage of the firearms. Personnel required to register their POW's, will do so within five days from signing into FC or from the date of purchase of the weapon.
b. Military personnel who reside off-post are not required to register privately owned firearms, unless they intend to bring the firearm on post. All privately owned firearms must be registered prior to bringing the weapon onto FC.
2-4. Transportation and use of privately owned firearms and weapons on the installation.
a. Privately owned firearms may only be transported on FC, if the individual
is transporting the weapon to or from a place of authorized storage, sale, hunting area, hunter safety class, firing range, gun or repair shop, or for any other lawful purpose not in violation of this regulation. Privately owned firearms will be transported in vehicles only while traveling in a direct route to and from these activities. No stops are authorized.
b. The carrying of a loaded firearm in a vehicle is prohibited. Privately owned firearms carried in a vehicle will be secured in the trunk. For vehicles without a trunk, firearms will be encased in a container other than the glove compartment and carried in such a manner that they will not be readily available to the driver or passengers. Motorcyclists may transport unloaded weapons inside a saddlebag or motorcycle luggage.
c. Firearms used for hunting on FC may be transported in the passenger compartment of a vehicle as long as they are unloaded and cased, and only while the possessor of the firearm(s) is actively engaged in hunting. As an exception, muzzleloaders may be transported with a round in the chamber as long as the firearm's firing cap or priming powder is removed, rendering it unable to fire.
d. Privately owned firearms may be used on FC only at designated ranges and
designated hunting
and fishing areas.
Respectfully,
*** ******
Garrison Public Affairs Officer

I explained that it is within the federal law (as unconstitutional as it is) to allow firearms:

Dear ******,

Here are the parts that gives the commanding officer a choice on
enforcing these:
18 U.S. Code § 930
(d) Subsection (a) shall not apply to--
(3) the lawful carrying of firearms or other dangerous weapons in a Federal facility incident to hunting or other lawful purposes.

Declare self defense to be a lawful purpose or recognize carrying with conceal carry permits as a lawful purpose. Even declare exercising your 2nd amendment right a lawful purpose would work.

(h) Notice of the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) shall be
posted conspicuously at each public entrance to each Federal facility,
and notice of subsection (e) shall be posted conspicuously at each
public entrance to each Federal court facility, and no person shall be
convicted of an offense under subsection (a) or (e) with respect to a
Federal facility if such notice is not so posted at such facility,
unless such person had actual notice of subsection (a) or (e), as the
case may be.

Take down any signs and assume no one has notice.

As far as the regulations who actually writes those?  Those regulations seem specific to fort Carson and I would assume the base commander would have the power to change those. unless I'm wrong about the regulations; my original statement: "I know the commander of the base has the power to decide what is allowed." is still valid and so are the questions I asked.
So I would like you to think on this.
I'm still curious how violating citizens 2nd amendment rights which every member of the military swore to protect is rationalized. And I would love to hear that the regulations will be changed.

Sincerely,
A very concerned citizen.
P.S. I look forward to hearing from you.
Then waited over a week and sent:
Hello again.
Its been a while since I last emailed you and have not received a
reply. I am still looking forward to to your reply.
Sincerely
A very concerned citizen.

So the officer finally replied:
Sir - these regulations are pretty standard across federal installations. I cannot answer why commanding generals make the decisions they make. Many subject matter experts provide advice on local regulations.
I know that I will never answer your questions to your satisfaction, but I have provided as much information as possible.

So there you have it. The freedoms that are afforded by the constitution and who the military are sworn to defend are violated by the military. And it's not that they are coerced into violating our rights and their oaths they just chose to do so.  They protect us from foreign threats but assist domestic threats to the constitution and our rights.

UPDATE:

I want to clarify I did not write this to insult or dishonor the military. I did talk to a veteran before writing this and he agreed with the points I was trying to make. We all know of the significant sacrifice members of the military have made in defense of this country, and in no way was I trying to belittle that. Also I know the majority of servicemen have next to no input on the decisions of their higher ranking officers. I just wanted to point out that the very rights these men and women died for are being violated on their bases and even their cemeteries. I expected the anger I've seen to be directed at this travesty, not the person pointing it out. My hope in writing this was to raise public awareness of this issue and hopefully invoking a change in the military’s unconstitutional regulations.


As for the reason I wrote this: 

I had to deliver a desk an army wife had purchased from me on craigslist. She was unable to transport the desk so she asked me to deliver it. Before heading on base I called the public affairs office and asked them about carrying on base since I was carrying that day. She told me it was fine just inform the guard at the gate.  And I almost did just that. But something bugged me about that. So I called again and got someone else who informed me that If I got caught trying to carry on base they would charge me with a federal felony. Sadly both were wrong, no felony but up to a year in prison. So had I followed the first person’s advice I would have announced I’m carrying, IE a confession, and the guard would have arrested me and I would be in prison right now. Does that make you concerned? It should. I definitely did not feel the army was protecting my freedoms that day. The funny thing is had I carried and told no one they would have never known because the security only did a quick peak in the back and under the SUV. Instead I found a place to secure my weapon off base for the whole affair. Regardless of the hypocrisy and stupidity of the situation I still delivered the desk and I even assembled it for the army wife.

No comments: