ALBANY, NEW YORK — Assymetric warfare is the term used to describe pretty much every conflict we’ve had in the 21st century. It means there are no conventional armies fighting it out in the trenches. Military personnel, sensitive installations, police officers — these are all targets unwittingly put on the front lines of a incessant War on Terror.
They’re targeted in theater and, sadly, now they’re also being targeted right here in the United States.
After the events of Chattanooga, Tennessee, where a lone armed gunman targeted a Marine Corps recruiting center and a Naval Reserve Center, one New York legislator had the common sense to give these men and women in uniform the option of carrying a concealed handgun or being issued a sidearm for their own protection.
We’re happy to announce that proposed bill is halfway through the legislative process.
Sen. Rob Ortt gave a statement before the Assembly in which he illustrated precisely why National Guardsmen and Reserve Officer Training Candidates (ROTC) need to have the option to be armed.
“Unarmed soldiers, such as members of the National Guard and ROTC, are targets on domestic soil and need stronger defense policies in place to safeguard them as they protect us.”
It may surprise some readers but, at present, National Guardsmen and Reservists operating domestically are not armed unless they’re engaging in a training exercise that specifically requires the use of live rounds.
That’s not nearly as often as you’d expect.
As a former Army Reservist, I can attest to the fact that at no time were we armed in the regular course of our weekend warrior training schedule. Outside of range qualification or some special exercise, nobody had a gun. And because of the way Department of Defense regulates firearms on its bases, concealed carry wasn’t an option.
Thankfully, that’s beginning to change. The DoD still maintains an ironclad control over who’s supposed to be armed — but they can’t control bad guys. And bad guys, as we’ve seen, don’t care what the DoD has to say about it.
Allowing National Guardsmen to maintain their own arms, concealed, in New York, is a massive step forward.
These are people who are properly trained in the use of rifles and handguns. Every branch of service has a pistol qualification course and, to be honest, perhaps advanced training needs to be more broadly available for these men and women in uniform.
We stand to be stronger as a community and a nation knowing that when we send our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers off to a weekend training event, we can count on them to be able to protect themselves if bad guys decide they want to do harm.
If we can do it in New York State, we can do it everywhere.
No United States soldier should be asked to sacrifice his life on our soil in a time a peace.