Conservative Media Erroneously Attribute Military Base Gun Policy To Clinton Administration

Conservative Media Erroneously Attribute Military Base Gun Policy To Clinton Administration

››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON & KATIE SULLIVAN

Conservative media are claiming that President Bill Clinton enacted a policy that bans guns at military bases in the wake of the mass shooting at a military facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In fact, the policy was enacted in 1992 during the administration of George H.W. Bush and does allow guns to be carried on base under some circumstances.

Gunman Kills 4 Marines, Injures 3 Others In Attack On Chattanooga Military Sites

Gunman Opens Fire On Two Military Sites, Killing Four. On July 16, a gunman opened fire on a military recruiting center, then drove to a second military site in Chattanooga, TN, where he killed four U.S. Marines and injured three other people, according to The New York Times. [The New York Times, 7/16/15]

Conservative Media Blame Military Base Gun Policy, Incorrectly Claiming It Began Under President Bill Clinton

Fox Guest: Clinton Executive Order "Took Away The Rights For Service Members To Carry Concealed [Weapons]." On the July 16 edition of Fox News' Happening Now, guest Chad Jenkins stated, "Unfortunately the executive order put in place by President Bill Clinton back in the '90s took away the rights for service members to carry concealed and to protect themselves here on the homeland." [Fox News, Happening Now, 7/16/15]

Fox's Doocy: Gun Free Zones "Started With Bill Clinton." On the July 17 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, host Steve Doocy claimed that former President Bill Clinton banned guns on military bases:

DOOCY: The recruiting facility behind you, on the door, next to the bullet holes is a sign that says gun-free zones. The President of the United States with an executive order could end that policy that started with Bill Clinton. [Fox News, Fox & Friends 7/17/15]

Fox's John Roberts: Military Base Gun Policy "Was Enacted In 1993 When President Clinton Took Office." On the July 16 edition of Hannity, Fox News correspondent John Roberts falsely reported that the policy regulating guns on military bases was not "enacted" until the Clinton administration:

ROBERTS: A 1992 directive from February of 1992 that was enacted in 1993 when President Clinton took office severely limits the presence of firearms in military facilities, including recruiting centers. However, there are some provisions in that directive that allow weapons to be held on military facilities. [Fox News, Hannity, 7/16/15]

Washington Examiner: "Policy Implemented By" Clinton "Ma[de] Military Bases 'Gun-Free Zones'." The Washington Examiner wrote, "Pistol-packing GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump ripped a policy implemented by former President Bill Clinton making military bases "gun free zones," declaring that as president bases would no longer be defenseless against terror attacks." [The Washington Examiner7/16/15]

Breitbart's Pamela Geller: "Bill Clinton Instituted A Ban On Armed Military Personnel." Pamela Geller, an anti-Muslim activist, claimed in a July 16 Breitbart post that, "Years ago, Bill Clinton instituted a ban on armed military personnel." [Breitbart.com, 7/16/15]

Fox Host: "President Clinton Passed A Ban On Soldiers Being Able To Protect Themselves." In a July 16 blog post, Outnumbered co-host Stacey Dash wrote: "Well, apparently, we have Bill Clinton to blame. President Clinton passed a ban on soldiers being able to protect themselves." [Patheos.com, 7/16/15]

Department Of Defense Policy, Which Allows Guns On Bases, Actually Dates To The Administration Of George H.W. Bush

Policy Was Not "Enacted" Under Clinton, Instead It Was "Effective Immediately" In 1992. From the February 25, 1992 directive:

This Directive is effective immediately. Forward one copy of implementing documents to the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence) and the Inspector General, Department of Defense within 120 days. [Department of Defense, 2/25/92]

Department Of Defense Policy: Guns May Be Carried On Military Bases "When There Is A Reasonable Expectation That Life Or DoD Assets Will Be Jeopardized If Firearms Are Not Carried." Rather than making military bases "gun-free zones," the 1992 directive issued by the Department of Defense instead describes the circumstances under which guns can be carried on military bases:

To limit and control the carrying of firearms by DoD military and civilian personnel. The authorization to carry firearms shall be issued only to qualified personnel when there is a reasonable expectation that life or DoD assets will be jeopardized if firearms are not carried. Evaluation of the necessity to carry a firearm shall be made considering this expectation weighed against the possible consequences of accidental or indiscriminate use of firearms. DoD personnel regularly engaged in law enforcement or security duties shall be armed. [Department of Defense, 2/25/92]

The New Republic: Directive "Was By No Means A 'Ban' On Firearms At Military Installations." Following the 2013 mass shooting at Washington D.C.'s Navy Yard facility, The New Republic debunked the claim that the 1992 directive made military bases "gun-free zones":

What's more, that directive--signed by Donald J. Atwood, George H. W. Bush's deputy secretary of defense -- was by no means a "ban" on firearms at military installations. It explicitly authorizes DOD personnel "to carry firearms while engaged in law enforcement or security duties, protecting personnel, vital Government assets, or guarding prisoners," and simply aims to "limit and control the carrying of firearms by DoD military and civilian personnel. The authorization to carry firearms shall be issued only to qualified personnel when there is a reasonable expectation that life or DoD assets will be jeopardized if firearms are not carried. Evaluation of the necessity to carry a firearm shall be made considering this expectation weighed against the possible consequences of accidental or indiscriminate use of firearms." [The New Republic, 9/17/13]

Posted In
Justice & Civil Liberties, Guns
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Steve Doocy, John Roberts, Pamela Geller, Stacey Dash
Show/Publication
FOX & Friends
Stories/Interests
Guns
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