Can Military Servicemembers Carry Firearms for Personal Protection on Duty? [July 17, 2015]   [open pdf - 143KB]

"On July 16, 2015, an armed shooter attacked a Marine Corps recruiting center and U.S. Naval Reserve Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, killing four Marines and wounding at least three other members of the Marine Corps, Navy, and local police before the shooter was killed. This follows other recent active shooter incidents on military installations, including the 2009 and 2014 shootings at Fort Hood, Texas, and the 2013 Washington Navy Yard shooting. While those incidents took place on military installations, the most recent incident, in contrast, took place at a reserve center and a recruiting office. Military installations have armed guards and security gates or checkpoints, while reserve centers and recruiting offices are typically integrated into local communities in locations where they are most likely to be approached by interested recruits. Therefore, recruiting offices, by design, are less likely to have the same level of security as other government facilities where military servicemembers are assigned. Following the most recent incident, some have questioned whether force protection measures at recruiting stations are adequate, and asked what U.S. statutes and DOD policies say regarding the ability of servicemembers to carry government-issued firearms for personal protection while on duty. Following is a discussion of the applicable law and policy regarding government-issued firearms for personal protection of servicemembers on duty. This does not address law or policies regarding privately-owned firearms."

Report Number:
CRS Insight, IN10318
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