Service Members Safety Act of 2011
The “Service Members Safety Act of 2011” would allow for all cleared active duty and retired military personnel the right to carry a concealed weapon, including firearms, on a national level without having to obtain multiple state carry permits. The application process and background check would still apply, but the permit’s reciprocity would become accepted throughout the entire United States.
Below is the complete article highlighting some of the reasons and legislative leverage behind this idea. -Kevin Webb
Midwest Marines Writes:
“Law enforcement officers and Marines are both trained to handle various scenarios, often involving lethal force in self defense or defense of others. As a matter of fact, many current law enforcement tactics, techniques, and procedures come from the military sector.
Nationwide, law enforcement officers carry their duty weapon everywhere they go. Why? Because handguns are seen as the most effective self-defense tool the officer can keep on their body at all times, and they often find themselves in situations where they have to interact with dangerous people.
Many law enforcement agencies encourage their officers to carry a concealed firearm while off-duty, and I’ve even heard of agencies requiring their officers to do so. The logic behind off-duty carry is solid – it puts more armed trained personnel on the streets to respond to a given situation.
Much like our brothers in blue, Marines deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan keep their assigned duty weapon with them at all times, regardless of their occupational field. Why? Again, because when going into harm’s way, the firearm is the most effective self-defense tool they can keep within arms reach at all times. Just like America’s law enforcement officers, Marines are often called upon to defend themselves or others from dangerous people.
Unfortunately, when Marines return to the streets of America, their carrying of a firearm turns from an everyday occurrence to a “mother may I” proposition. Not only do they have to navigate the numerous and often changing base regulations governing the personal ownership of firearms, they also have to jump through whatever state legal hoops there may be in order to obtain a permit to carry a concealed firearm. And that’s if it’s even legal in the state in which they’re stationed.
Here in Wisconsin, there is currently no provision to legally carry a concealed firearm (unless, of course, you are a law enforcement officer). My counterpart in Chicago – who holds a highly coveted New York State concealed weapon permit – has to deal with Illinois’ prohibition on concealed firearms as well as Chicago’s now-defunct outright ban on handguns. At least I don’t have to work and live around a city like Chicago whose weekend murder counts requires both hands to count.
I’m just one of many Marines in this state who have qualified numerous times on various military qualification courses, including those required of Marine and Navy military police/security officers. We’ve all received countless hours of training in handling various situations up to and including the appropriate use of deadly force.
In 2004, the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act was signed into law. This law basically allows active and retired officers to carry a concealed firearm nationwide. The Law Enforcement Alliance of America has the following talking points about the law (in the interest of space, I’ve cherry picked the pertinent points):
- In a time where Homeland Security is paramount, H.R. 218/S.253 gives America countless additional trained and armed first responders at no additional cost to the taxpayers. There’s a long history of armed off duty officers coming to the rescue in life threatening situations H.R. 218 and S. 253 will make that reality even more plausible by expanding the areas where our officers can be equipped for the emergencies they are trained to respond to.
- H.R. 218 and S. 253 give off-duty, as well as retired, police officers Right To Carry reciprocity throughout the nation in order to help prevent crime in our communities. All too often, current and retired officers come upon situations in which they can prevent violent crime and save lives. It is common sense they continue to have the tool of their trade available to serve and protect.
- H.R. 218 and S. 253 will allow tens of thousands of additionally equipped, trained and certified law enforcement officers to continually serve and protect our communities regardless of jurisdiction or duty status at no cost to taxpayers.
- H.R. 218 and S. 253 provide clear, uniform nationwide rules to replace the variety of local laws that create confusion and uncertainty as to whether an officer may or may not carry a firearm when he or she is off duty.
Every single one of those points which LEAA rightfully uses to explain why officers should be able to carry a concealed firearm are applicable to today’s active-duty and retired service members. To that list, I would like to add the fact anti-terrorism experts across the country agree military personnel and facilities are high-priority targets for terrorists.
In the end, I think it’s about time active-duty and retired service members be extended the same courtesy as active and retired law enforcement officers. This would put countless numbers of armed TRAINED personnel on the streets ready, willing, and able to respond.”
Moving Forward & Getting It Passed
There will be information available soon as to how you can get involved in helping get the Service Member Safety Act of 2011 (SMSA) turned into a reality.
U.S. Justice Department surveys showed 57 percent of convicts were “more worried about their victims being armed than being caught by the police,” and 40 percent said they “decided at least once not to commit a crime because a victim might be armed.”