Presidential hopeful Donald Trump is speaking out after Thursday’s shootings at two military bases in Chattanooga, Tennessee that killed four Marines and left one sailor seriously wounded. On Friday, Trump used Twitter to voice his opinion about servicemembers being prohibited to carry loaded firearms on base: “Get rid of gun free zones. The four great Marines who were just shot never had a chance. They were highly trained but helpless without guns.”
Coincidentally, only nine days before the attack, Trump told The Washington Examiner in an interview about why he takes issue with there being “gun free zones” on military bases. Trump stated that if elected president, he would see to it that “[soldiers] will be able to defend themselves against terrorists. Our brave soldiers should not be at risk because of policy created by civilian leadership. Political correctness has no place in this debate.”
He blamed President Bill Clinton for mandating “gun free zones” on US military bases, saying that Clinton “never should have passed a ban on soldiers being able to protect themselves on bases. America’s Armed Forces will be armed.”
Congress began working on Friday to direct the Pentagon to allow sevicemembers to be armed in all areas of military bases. The current policy prohibits anyone other than police or law enforcement from carrying loaded firearms on military facilities outside of war zones.
As part of the National Defense Authorization Act that is currently being debated, troops will be allowed to carry personal firearms for their own protection while on base. Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona and Rep. Mac Thornberry, Republican of Texas, are spearheading this legislation and predict that it may be finalized as early as the end of this month.
There have been 6 attacks on US military bases since November 2009, when Army Maj. Nidal Malik Nadal Hasan opened fire on Fort Hood Army Base in Texas. That attack killed 13 people and injured more than 30 others, and Hasan was paralyzed during the resulting shootout that occurred before he was subdued by police.
Trump contends that arming soldiers on military bases would lessen the severity of attacks of this nature, or prevent them altogether. He is also an outspoken proponent for preserving Americans’ 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, and according to The Tennessean, spoke at this year’s National Rifle Association convention in Nashville, Tennessee.