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View Full Version : Military (Navy) politics on handguns in US


mjmjr1312
07-26-2005, 03:44 PM
This is relatively long but I wanted to type it in its entirety... a letter from Fleet Forces Command Master Chief Jonathan R. Thompson directed to the ships and subs stationed on the East Coast.

Did you ever hear the phrase, "nothing good can come from this?" In most cases, this phrase is used as a prediction about things to come. In life, you don't always need a crystal ball to predict the future. Many things are predictable. Some things, when combined, create a formula for disaster.

I'd like to share with you something i read in message traffic lately that concerned me a great deal. I see every SITREP and OPREP in the fleet and when i see one like what I'm about to share I can't help but wonder what the sailors were thinking:

"(Ship) Recieved call from Norfolk police reguarding incident involving involving E-3, E-4 and E-3 posession of concealed weapons. Sailors were pulled over (location). Sailor 1 (E-3) was found with registered 9mm, issued citation, and was returned to the ship. Sailor 2 (E-4) was found with concealed weapon(second offense), taken into custody. Sailor 3 (E-3) was found with two concealed weapons (two offenses), one with removed serial number, was taken into custody."

If the place you intend to go on liberty is so dangerous that you feel the need to carry a gun, my advice would be to find different places to go.

Unless you're hunting, your guns need to be left at home. When I say "home" that mean off any military base. Federal rules restrict you from bringing a weapon onto any base.

I can see no good reason why a sailor would need a weapon while on liberty. At best, you get arrested like the above sailors. At worst, you end up involved in a situation where you may actually use the gun(s) and either get shot or shoot someone else. Neither are acceptable outcomes.

So there you have it, combine liberty and a gun and you have a formula for disaster. Now, before you think I'm guilty of not supporting the right to bear arms, let me clarify my position. I'm not trying to argue a constitutional right. However, as a Fleet Master Chief, I'm in a position where I have an obligation to provide advice on how to conduct oneself on liberty, whether in the U.S. or overseas. At no time in my career have I ever seen a case where a sailor packing a concealed weapon came out on the better side of the law. Wether you have a permit for a concealed weapon or not, guns and liberty do not mix. As i said earlier, nothing good can come from doing so.

Everywhere I go you tell me you desire to be treated like adults and that leadership should trust you. This is especially true of our most junior sailors. I agree. I agree that you should be treated as adults. I agree that the default action should be to trust you. the only time I ever start doubting that logic is when I read things like this report. Trust goes both ways.

If every sailor went on liberty and conducted him or herself in a manner that brought credit upon our Navy, I would have nothing to worry about. unfortionately, some of our shipmates occasionally erode that trust and confidence. The 'cause and effect' of this is that sometimes we leaders sometimes need to be more vocal about what's right and wrong, even if it means overstating the obvious. granted, when you say it out loud, it almost sounds silly to have to say don't carry a gun on liberty. Is it really necessary? Unfortionately, i believe it is.

Why do I care so much? Here's the deal: If a sailor is willing to disobey the law, what else is the sailor willing to disobey? What navy regulations or orders is he or she willing to disreguard?

Life is about choices. In the Navy, Leadership is tasked with ensuring every sailor is armed with the necessary information to make sound choices, both at work and at home. Whether you make those sound choices is completely up to you; that's the treating you like an adult part. But choices have consequences, for you aand for others.

Life is full of rules and regulations. When you serve in the Navy, you enter into an agreement with the Navy that basically says you agree to conduct yourself in a manner that will continue to uphold our longstanding reputation as a service of professionals. No one said living up to that agreement would be easy. I think, depending on your upbringing, some of you may find this easier than others.

In my experience, Peer pressure can be difficult to manage. Depending on who your friends are, and who influences your decisions, you may want to ask yourself some tough questions: What are their motives? Are they encouraging you to success or failure? Do they care about you and your career? Do they care about themselves and their career? Do they share your values and your goals? If you're coming up with blanks (or bad answers) on these question, I would suggest you rethink whom you hang around with. Finding new friends isn't always easy, but following old friends down the wrong path can lead to problems that are extremely difficult to fix.

Shipmates, we need to do everything we can to keep each other safe, on and off duty. It's bad enough one sailor might choose to do something that could harm someone. It's twice as bad if that sailor makes that choice, and then convinces one or more other sailors to do the same. We all need to realize we hold the key to our success. Sometimes saying no is a very good thing, even if it means parting company with a former friend. The choice is yours, and I'm expecting each and every one of you to make the right choice.

-FLTCM (AW/SW) Jon R. Thompson

some misleading info in here: you can carry onto bases it is not Federal law infact many have open ranges and carrying on base is at CO's discression.

As for the rest of the article there is just more of the "guns cause crime" logic

Esteves
07-27-2005, 12:44 PM
Devil's advocate:

If one is carrying concealed and there are local ordinances that must be complied with and/or if one is in posession of a weapon with the serial number removed then there were legal offenses involved.

While misleading, the statement about carrying on base was factual. It mentioned rules, not laws; and restrictions, not prohibitions.

Given the overall context and the position that he's in (and the POV that he must adopt), I think that the Master Chief's advice was reasonable and prudent. The letter was truly targeted at those few who cannot/do not act responsibly, and the trouble that it causes for everyone else.

Again, that's the devil's advocate POV. I firmly beleive in the RKBA where R = both right and responsibility.

mjmjr1312
07-27-2005, 05:50 PM
the only part that really bothers me is one line "Wether you have a permit for a concealed weapon or not, guns and liberty do not mix. As i said earlier, nothing good can come from doing so."

i worry about people so quick to group together permit holders ,as he says, with those illegally (in one case more than once) carrying who deserve every punishment coming their way both legally and from the UCMJ.

-Mike

7of7
07-29-2005, 03:03 PM
As I read the article,...I found some pretty good advice, and some almost disturbing undertones. One of which is the undertone that the second ammendment is about hunting.
Unless you're hunting, your guns need to be left at home.

I don't particularly care for how he lumps everyone together.
Wether you have a permit for a concealed weapon or not, guns and liberty do not mix.

However, the ones who are carrying illegally, should be prosecuted to the fullest. He does bring up a good point however:
If a sailor is willing to disobey the law, what else is the sailor willing to disobey? What navy regulations or orders is he or she willing to disreguard?

There was some particularly good advice on choosing friends.....
Depending on who your friends are, and who influences your decisions, you may want to ask yourself some tough questions: What are their motives? Are they encouraging you to success or failure? Do they care about you and your career? Do they care about themselves and their career? Do they share your values and your goals?