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Sen. Inhofe Introduces Legislation To Protect Second Amendment<br>Rights Of Military And Dept. Of Defense Civilian Personnel

Friday, May 28, 2010

Over a period of some months, NRA members in the Armed Forces have called NRA's attention to the fact that certain military base commanders, exercising arbitrary authority given them under military law and regulations, have issued orders violating military personnel's Second Amendment rights. In a particularly egregious example, Fort Riley, Kansas, has imposed a preposterous regulation that, among other things, (1) requires the registration, with Fort Riley, of its soldiers' privately-owned firearms kept off-base, and those of the soldiers' family members residing anywhere in Kansas, (2) prohibits soldiers who have firearm-carrying permits from carrying firearms for protection off-base, and (3) authorizes unit commanders to set arbitrary limits on the caliber of firearms and ammunition their troops may privately own.

Concurrently, following the multiple shooting on Fort Hood last year, allegedly committed with one or more firearms brought onto the base in violation of base regulations, the Department of Defense (DOD) began working on a regulation that, among other things, would require military commanders to require troops to register privately owned firearms kept off-base, and authorize such commanders to require troops living off-base to keep privately-owned firearms and ammunition locked in separate containers, the latter a restriction of the same type as, but more restrictive than, a law struck down by the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008). The D.C. law, the Court concluded, "makes it impossible for citizens to use [firearms] for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional."

To nullify existing military orders and regulations that violate certain Second Amendment rights of military and civilian DOD personnel, and to preempt other orders and regulations of the sort, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) has introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. Sen. Inhofe's amendment, adopted on May 27 by the Senate Armed Services Committee:

  • States that "[T]he Secretary of Defense shall not prohibit, issue any requirement relating to, or collect or record any information relating to the otherwise lawful acquisition, possession, ownership, carrying, or other use of a privately owned firearm, privately-owned ammunition, or another privately-owned weapon by a member of the Armed Forces or civilian employee of the Department of Defense on property that is not owned or operated by the Department of Defense."
  • Nullifies military orders and regulations of the types the amendment prohibits
  • Requires DOD to destroy all gun ownership records of the types the amendment prohibits
  • Preserves DOD's authority to "regulate the possession, carrying, or other use of a firearm, ammunition, or other weapon" by personnel on-duty or in military uniform
  • Preserves DOD's authority to "create and maintain records relating to an investigation, prosecution, or adjudication of an alleged violation of law (including regulations) not prohibited by the amendment, including matters related to whether a member of the Armed Forces constitutes a threat to himself or others."
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CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

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NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.