A Republican lawmaker is once again calling on Congress to end a ban on service members carrying weapons at U.S. military bases.
Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Tex.) spoke out Thursday in response to the shooting at Fort Hood Wednesday night that left four people dead and more than a dozen injured. In a statement, Stockman suggested that the third recent mass shooting at a military installation occurred "because our trained soldiers aren’t allowed to carry defensive weapons. Anti-gun activists have turned our military bases into soft targets for killers."
Stockman is lead sponsor of the "Safe Military Bases Act," which would repeal the federal ban on service members carrying weapons on bases. He introduced the measure in September in response to the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard.
The weapons ban has been in place since the 1990s. 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.
On Fort Hood, the restrictions on personal weapons were expanded in the wake of the 2009 massacre and an epidemic of suicides on post, which is the largest active-duty armored post in the country. Current policy requires soldiers to register their own personal weapons with their commanders and to keep those weapons in the arms room.
"If members of Congress are protected by loaded automatic weapons in the Capitol they have no right to deny that right to trained soldiers on base," Stockman said in a statement.
Stockman is retiring after his current term after failing to unseat Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) in a GOP primary last month.