US Naval Aviators across the nation have penned an open letter to Capitol Hill and the Pentagon, urging them to consider allowing servicemembers to be armed on base.
The letter, sent to Fox News by Naval Air instructors who wished to remain anonymous, was written in the aftermath of an attack on students at Florida’s NAS Pensacola, when a Saudi officer opened fire on his classmates.
“It is reprehensible that a military installation, much less its warfighters based there, be at the mercy of off-base, civilian law enforcement when faced with an immediate threat to their lives,” the letter read.
The letter criticized a 1992 law that barred civilians and military personnel -who are not on security duty or part of a law enforcement investigation- from carrying guns on military installations, despite the fact that civilian-contracted security often falls short of physical fitness standards and on performing their duties.
Furthermore, the communique pointed out that one of the students killed was standing watch at the time of the shooting- completely unarmed.
“ENS Joshua Kaleb Watson was a small-arms instructor and captain of the rifle team at the United States Naval Academy. Yet when charged with standing the watch, he was equipped with nothing more than a logbook and a pen,” the letter noted.
The aviators hope that the military “will discontinue what has become a severe irony burdening our servicemembers: that they can be entrusted to fly multimillion-dollar aircraft over hostile territory, command companies of infantrymen into battle, or captain ships around the world, all while holding the nation’s top security clearances, but when back home are not trusted to carry a simple pistol in order to protect themselves, their families and their fellow servicemembers.”
Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Pentagon spokespersons have not given any solid answer on the topic, with Esper simply stating that he was “looking into that.”
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