va-rep-scott-rigellCongressman Scott Rigell (VA-02) and 69 other members of Congress are urging Secretary of Defense Ash Carter to make immediate changes to Department of Defense (DoD) rules to allow service members to carry firearms at military installations, bases, and reserve centers, as a means of enhanced force protection.

“The American people want to know what we are doing to give their sons and daughters the highest probability that they can go to work in uniform and come home safe,” said Congressman Rigell, who represents the congressional district with the highest concentration of men and women in uniform in the country and served in the Marine Corps Reserve. “The murder of four Marines, one Sailor, and wounding of others is further, irrefutable evidence that domestic terrorism targeting our stateside troops is real and ongoing. Our service members have a right to defend themselves and we cannot delay in confronting these real and imminent threats.”

Under current DoD regulations that have been in place since 1992, base commanders are prohibited from allowing service members to carry personal firearms on military installations.

In a letter signed by 70 members of Congress (68 representatives and two senators), the members and senators urged Secretary Carter to change DoD rules, stating: “You have the authority to change this directive, and we implore you to do so. Specifically, we ask that you allow the Commanding Officer at each of our military bases and reserve centers to authorize certain personnel to carry personal firearms as a means of enhanced force protection.”

In May 2015, Rigell co-authored an amendment to the FY16 National Defense Authorization Act that would allow service members to carry a concealed personal firearm on their military installation if the commander determines it to be necessary as a personal or force protection measure. However, as noted in the joint letter to Secretary Carter, the Secretary of Defense has the discretion and authority to make that change on his own.

Do you think this effort will have any effect on DoD rules?