Soldiers on all military installations, including Fort Hood, are not armed while on post, nor are they permitted to carry any privately owned firearms. Only law enforcement and security personnel are allowed to have weapons on post.
That sounds crazy and unreasonable to most military personnel and veterans.
After the shootings at Washington’s Navy Yard in September, 2014 which led to the deaths of 13 people, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Tex.) introduced legislation that would allow both service members and federal civilians to carry their personal weapons on military installations.
“Our disarmed military bases are vulnerable targets for terrorists, as we saw in Fort Hood and the Navy Yard,” Stockman said in a statement at the time. “Despite that, soldiers trained to use guns cannot carry on base. The result is two mass killings where defenseless soldiers had to watch as their friends were murdered.”
Active military and veterans should be trusted to carry guns. Florida has now announced this week that the state will rapidly process tens of thousands of applications, making it easier for active and discharged military personnel to obtain a license or permit to carry weapons.
According to Guns , as a response to a terror attack in Chattanooga, Tennessee that left three U.S. Marines and a Navy Sailor dead, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) instituted a number of measures to help allow those in uniform more protections. Among these was to authorize the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to expedite the permits of those in the military – to include the Florida National Guard – as well as veterans.
On Tuesday, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam announced his agency has issued more than 50,000 expedited permits to current and former service members under the new guidelines.
“The men and women who serve and have served our country deserve all of the support we can provide,” said Putnam in a statement. “I’m pleased that we have been able to expedite so many active military members and veterans’ applications for a concealed weapon license.”
As noted on the department’s webpage, currently serving personnel need to submit a copy of their CAC card while honorably discharged veterans have to do the same with their DD-214.
In the first 60 days of the program last year, Putnam issued 7,549 licenses to current military personnel and veterans. The average turnaround from application to permit issuance was a week.
It is not just members of the military that have benefited from new Florida concealed carry policies in recent months.
Last year Scott signed a measure into law to allow law-abiding citizens without carry licenses to temporarily carry concealed handguns without a permit during declared emergencies such as mandatory evacuations in hurricanes. In March, he signed another concealed carry reform, dropping the cost of permits from $70 to $60 on the initial application and from $60 to $50 for renewals.
As of August 31, the Sunshine State had 1,632,184 concealed carry permits on file, the highest in the nation. Texas, with about a third higher overall population than Florida’s, broke one million permit holders earlier this year.