Another major U.S. military base is requiring soldiers who live off the premises to provide descriptions, serial numbers, calibers, makes and models of any of the guns they own privately, and do not take onto the premises of the installation.
According to a copy of a “Weapons Registration Form” submitted to WND by a soldier from Fort Bliss in Texas, the soldiers have to provide their own information including Social Security number, a physical description and addresses and telephone numbers, along with the serial number, type, action, make, caliber, finish, location stored, model, overall length and barrel description of each weapon they own.
Base public information officer Jean Offutt told WND that registration of privately owned weapons is suggested and recommended, but there’s no enforcement procedures available to the military if someone chooses not to submit that off-post information.
However, the form used for the registrations states in one paragraph, “Soldiers who reside off post will register all privately owned weapons/firearms with the PMO. This requirement applies whether or not the service member intends to bring the weapon onto the installation for any recreational or other use.”
A spokesman at Army headquarters, Lt. Col. Lee Packnett, told WND that he wasn’t aware of a systemwide effort to have solders’ privately owned weapons registered, but confirmed that individual installations could be taking that action.
WND reported several months ago when a military commander at Fort Campbell in Kentucky demanded his soldiers give him the registration numbers of any guns they own privately and then reveal where they are stored.
The order was stopped, according to base officials, when it was discovered the commander was not “acting within his authority.”
The original order was issued on the letterhead of Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment and said effective March 11, any soldier with a “privately owned weapon” was required to submit the information, along with any information about any concealed carry permit the soldier may have, and what state issued the permit.
Further, the rule warned, “If any soldier comes into possession of a Privately Owned Weapon following the effective date of this memorandum, he is required to inform the Chain of Command of the above information.”
One soldier who objected to the demands circulated the memo, commenting that he lives off post.
“It just seems a little coincidental to me that within 90 days the most anti-firearm president in history is inaugurated, some of the nastiest anti-firearm laws are put on the table in Washington, and then the Army comes around wanting what amounts to a registration on all firearms, even if they are off post, and doesn’t provide any reason or purpose as to why,” the soldier said.
At that time base spokeswoman Cathy Gramling told WND the letter apparently was a mistake. She said the base requires anyone bringing a privately owned weapon onto the installation to register it.
A soldier who returned to Fort Bliss from his third tour of duty in the Middle East and was handed the registration form contacted WND about the latest situation. He requested anonymity.
He said he was appalled by what happened, and many of his fellow soldiers are too.
The soldier questioned the jurisdiction that military officials would have off-base. Offutt told WND that in fact, there is no requirement, despite what the form states.
“They’re also asked to register their weapons even if they keep them off poast,” she said. “That’s very difficult to enforce. There’s no jurisdiction for the military off the installation.”
She said she would request an explanation from base officers for the mandatory reporting requirements on the base form. She later confirmed to WND base commanders had affirmed the policy of requiring off-post guns to be registered on the base, but also said the base has no jurisdiction outside its borders, and the only way a problem would come to their attention is if something happened.
She said one of the reasons behind the policy is that the military wants to take “a close look” at those who have access to weapons. She described the registration as a “safety and security” issue.
Second Amendment advocates have been alarmed in recent months since President Obama took office by a series of actions, including his advocacy of an international treaty that could require those who reload their ammunition to obtain federal permits for that.
There also have been several legislative proposals introduced in Congress, including one that would require a fee and fingerprints for a type of national registration of guns.
The Department of Defense also implemented a policy that limited the supply of ammunition available to the private gun owners by requiring destruction of fired military cartridge brass, a move that was reversed shortly after it became public.