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WASHINGTON — Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, introduced a bill Tuesday to end the restriction on service members carrying certain firearms on military installations.

The bill, the Armed Forces Self-Defense Act,  would:

  • Ensure that qualified, trained and certified military personnel will be permitted to carry their privately owned firearms on military installations, including reserve centers and recruitment offices. 
  • Codify current policy that Department of Defense personnel shall be appropriately armed and have the inherent right to self-defense.
  • Make it the stated policy of the Department of Defense to permit trained military personnel to carry personal firearms while on military installations in the United States.
  • Repeal any specific provisions within conflicting regulations, directives, rules or orders that restrict or prohibit members from carrying personal firearms on military installations.

The bill addresses an apparent rise in the targeting of military facilities in the United States. CNN recently reported that “nearly a third of the 119 Americans accused of plotting an attack inside the United States since 9-11 were alleged to have plotted to attack U.S. military targets.”

Johnson commented in particular on the possibility that a service member who were to use a weapon to defend against such an attack could be disciplined. “These are heroes,” Johnson said.  “We entrust them to defend us. They shouldn’t be left vulnerable when it comes to defending themselves and their fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. This shortsighted regulation has failed and resulted in enough casualties.”

Johnson said he plans to work with other senators to advance his legislation. “There are a lot of ideas floating around on the best way to address this problem,” he said. “Other members have proposals in mind. I plan to collaborate and ensure we get a bill with all the best ideas that a bipartisan group of senators can rally around to deter future terrorist attacks on military personnel.”

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