USMC firearm policy has been updated to allow off-duty Marine Corps Law Enforcement professionals to carry concealed “privately owned firearms” while on base for self-defense. The change comes after the December 4, 2019, firearm-based attack at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and the December 6, 2019, firearm-based attack at Naval Air Station Pensacola. U.S. military personnel who were present during the shootings were defenseless due to gun-free policies that bar concealed carry on bases and installations for self-defense. Breitbart News reported witnesses of the Pensacola attack noted the attacker had 10 minutes without armed resistance in which to carry out his horrific work. On December 9, 2019, Breitbart News reported that installation commanders prevent troops from being armed on base for self-defense. Decision-making authority for on-base concealed carry shifted from the Secretary of Defense to installation commanders via Amendment S. 1536 in 2015, which passed as part of the “National Defense Authorization Act of 2016.” Yet installation commanders by-and-large stuck with the same gun-free policies. A USMC memo on concealed carry changes that by authorizing “active Marine Corps Law Enforcement (LE) professionals who possess valid Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act (LEOSA) 18 U.S.C. §926B credentials to carry concealed privately owned firearms (POF) aboard Marine Corps property in the United States and U.S. territories for personal protection not in the performance of official duties.” Although the USMC memo sets limitations as to where off-duty Marine LE professionals can carry for self-defense, this policy is a clear step forward in the effort to eliminate the soft-target attraction of military installations.
To be clear… This only applies to Marine Law Enforcement (LE) officials. But, kudos to the USMC for taking this baby step. Hopefully the other services will follow suit and then expand to allow for all active duty, and reserve members of our armed forces be allowed to conceal carry while on military installations both domestically and abroad. The current policy that forbids it is spectacularly stupid.