Installation Commanders Prevent Troops Being Armed for Self-Defense

AGHDAD, IRAQ - MAY 24: A U.S. Army captain's helmet, body armor and pistol sit at a field base May 24, 2008 in Baghdad, Iraq. The U.S. military recently stated violence across Iraq is at a four-year low, with a number of militant groups calling cease fires against the U.S. …
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As the nation continues to digest the news surrounding Friday’s attack at gun-free Naval Air Station Pensacola, it should be noted that installation commanders prevent troops from being armed for self-defense.

Amendment S. 1536 passed both House and Senate in 2015 as part of the “National Defense Authorization Act of 2016.” It allowed installation commanders to okay individual carry of firearms for self-defense on military installations. The impetus for this amendment was the July 16, 2015, attack on Chattanooga military assets. Four Marines and one Sailor were killed in Chattanooga.

Mark Olivia, former Congressional Fellow for Department of Defense, helped write amendment S 1356 and spoke to Breitbart News about its ramifications.

Olivia noted, “It shifted authority to grant concealed carry on installations from the Secretary of Defense to the local commander.” But he noted that language was submitted the following year making where an approval was only good for 90 days. Thus, an individual approved to carry a gun for self-defense on base would have to be re-approve roughly every three months.

The need for 90 day re-approval kept things as complicated as possible, yet the ability to approve is there.

Olivia stressed “the installation commander is responsible for the anti-terror force protection measures of that installation.” And because a given installation commander may approve things that another would not, rules on carrying vary installation to installation.

Olivia said, “Fort Hood is going to have a different list than Naval Air Station Pensacola.”

Shortly after the shooting on Naval Air Station Pensacola, Breitbart News reported that its commander had made clear concealed carry permits were not honored on base and personal firearms had to be stored in the installation’s armory.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at Sign up to get Down Range at


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