County Fair

EXCLUSIVE: A Veteran Confronts NRA's Keene Over Law That Endangers Troops

February 23, 2012 12:37 pm ET by Lisa Reed

At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) earlier this month, I had the opportunity to speak with David Keene, president of the National Rifle Association (NRA). As an Air Force veteran myself, I was specifically interested in learning more about the NRA's support of an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011.

What the NRA describes as a "pro-Second Amendment provision" is legislation that prohibits the Defense Department from "collecting or recording any information relating to the otherwise lawful acquisition, possession, ownership, carrying, or other use of a privately owned firearm." In short, the amendment, signed into law along with the underlying act in January 2011, bars commanders from even questioning their troops about privately-owned firearms kept off-base.

The NRA's involvement with this defense legislation rose more than a few eyebrows. Senior military leaders reportedly say the "law will make it virtually impossible to get private weapons out of the hands of some potentially suicidal soldiers." The Christian Science Monitor reported that General Peter Chiarelli, the 2nd ranking officer for the Army, "expressed concern...that this law amounts to a prohibition on commanders engaging in vital discussions with US soldiers about weapons and personal safety":

"I am not allowed to ask a soldier who lives off post whether that soldier has a privately owned weapon," he says.

While commanders are permitted to ask troops who appear to be a danger to themselves or others about private firearms - or to suggest perhaps locking them temporarily in a base depot - if the soldier denies that he or she is thinking about harming anyone, then the commander cannot pursue the discussion further.

Nearly half of all soldiers who commit suicide use a firearm, General Chiarelli points out. He added that "suicide in most cases is a spontaneous event" that is often fueled by drugs and alcohol. But "if you can separate the individual from the weapon," he added, "you can lower the incidences of suicide."

During our interview, David Keene, who said his own daughter is in the Army and currently deployed in Afghanistan, was unapologetically sold on the idea that troops "have to deal with their problems, not with the group of tools that they have... if you have depression and depression creates a suicidal situation if you don't have a gun, you'll use something else. And there are a million ways to commit suicide."

Keene's statements fly in the face of analysis by public health experts, who say that many suicide attempts are impulsive and that the high lethality of guns makes suicide attempts using them much more likely to succeed. His claims are also inconsistent with my own experiences as a veteran who deployed to a combat zone.

There is no doubt that troops should seek help from support groups that surround them. But when reports show that in 2010 "service members most frequently used firearms to die by suicide," his statements clearly turn a blind eye to the fact that firearms are the preferred method, out of the "million ways to commit suicide."  

The DOD annual suicide event report for 2010 reveals further chilling numbers, such as that "most service members were not known to have communicated their potential for self-harm with others" prior to suicide or suicide attempts, and that "[n]early half of 2010 suicide decedents used non-military issue firearms... to kill themselves."

Research from the Harvard Injury Control Research Center at the Harvard School of Public Health demonstrates the link between guns and suicide. According to a 2008 article from its director, David Hemenway, and assistant director, Matthew Miller, "[d]eciding whether to own a gun entails balancing potential benefits and risks. One of the risks for which the empirical evidence is strongest, and the risk whose death toll is greatest, is that of completed suicide."

Hemenway and Miller explain that firearms availability increases the risk of suicide for three reasons. First, "many suicidal acts -- one third to four fifths of all suicide attempts, according to studies -- are impulsive," with the vast majority of survivors waiting less than 1 hour between the decision to commit suicide and the attempt. Second, many suicide crises are temporary, which is why "more than 90% of people who survive a suicide attempt... do not go on to die by suicide." Third, guns are extremely lethal; "A suicide attempt with a firearm rarely affords a second chance. Attempts involving drugs or cutting, which account for more than 90% of all suicidal acts, prove fatal far less often."

The DOD's 2010 suicide event report supports this analysis. According to the report, 175 service members killed themselves using firearms that year -- 62 percent of the total -- while 40 made unsuccessful attempts to do so. By contrast, drugs and use of sharp or blunt objects were the most frequent method for a suicide attempt. There were 13 successful and 496 unsuccessful attempts by service members to take their lives using drugs; those figures are 2 and 122 for injury with a sharp or blunt object.

This analysis validates Chiarelli's concerns (and he's not alone -- the Center for a New American Security has also called for the amendment's repeal). Most troops that commit suicide or make suicide attempts are not reaching out for help before doing so, choosing to keep their deep suffering to themselves. Most of them do have access to guns in their homes. And the availability of a gun makes a suicide attempt more likely to succeed. The NRA's pushing for this amendment cuts off the ability for commanders to raise concern about these three very risky, and very related factors.  

Through my personal experiences while deployed in Kuwait during 2001 and afterwards, I was in no way prepared for the emotional affects that resulted. I was shocked by my deployed unit's sudden Afghanistan intervention following September 11th. I saw things that no briefing or handbook could prepare me for, and internalized the chaos in order to continue to the mission of my unit. Upon return, I told one close co-worker about my troubled thoughts. This was immediately followed by assistance from the support group that was my military family. My First Sergeant further inquired about my issues, and soon after I was receiving professional help, along with the encouraging words of my peers. It's difficult to predict the outcome if my peers and superiors hadn't intervened. The NRA's amendment limits the ability of officers to take every step possible to help those under their command. 

This amendment isn't the only way the NRA seeks to further their mission focusing on U.S. troops.

The NRA touts a website boldly titled: "NRA Life of Duty," meant to target service members and sponsored by the firearms supplier Brownells. Upon visiting the page, your eyes are immediately drawn to an entire section devoted to NRA board member Oliver North's photo ops with deployed troops. The site does provide helpful links to resources for both active servicemen and veterans, ranging from military history to the Stars and Stripes publication to links for veteran support. But spending only a few minutes on this website reveals that the site also provides links to varying sniper communitiesweapons reviews, super sales for tactical gear, places to purchase firearm munitions, and hunting events.

Besides a link to the Veterans Administration, there are no noticeable links on the website related to dealing with PTSD after deployment, which can heavily contribute to a service member taking their life with a firearm.

It appears as though the NRA is not only pushing legislation that top military commanders say make it harder to prevent soldier suicides, but is also heavily invested in marketing weapons-related products and services to U.S. troops, whose #1 suicide method is with a bullet through the head. This can't bode well for the future of troops returning fresh off the battlefield -- many of whom return with the deepest and most invisible wounds.

Here's the complete video of my discussion with Keene:

Matt Gertz provided additional research for this post.

Expand All Expand 1st Level Collapse All Add Comment
    • Author by Larry357 (February 23, 2012 1:08 pm ET)
      It's sad that the issue of military suicides has to become a political attack on the Constitution that they swore to uphold.

      Lacking a firearm certainly won't stop any suicidal person from killing themselves.

      It's not at all about the NRA or private ownership of guns. Consider historical facts about what has happened in other countries who have disarmed their citizens. That alternative is horrifying for the survival of America.
      Report Abuse
      • Author by lynneg (February 24, 2012 11:31 am ET)
        This is NOT a matter of disarming citizens. It is a matter of helping Commanders identify a potential problem and possibly/hopefully help to save some of our suffering troops.
        It is sad that such paranoia from the right turns everything inot a conspiracy.
        Report Abuse
      • Author by micost51 (February 26, 2012 10:14 am ET)
        Hey, let's let suicidal soldiers walk along the ledges of the roofs of buildings, while we're at it.

        I hate the NRA, primarily because of their pathological love of firearms. The organization would rather that 10,000 soldiers plow themselves away than one homicidl maniac be denied the chance to buy an AK-47.
        Report Abuse
    • Author by DAWUSS (February 23, 2012 1:23 pm ET)
      5 1
      I don't know if stripping guns is necessarily the answer to lowering soldier suicides - I think addressing the cause of problem is more effective than addressing the means.
      Report Abuse
      • Author by tbone (February 23, 2012 1:56 pm ET)
        Agreed. Guns have always been the most lethal of the suicide options and rates correlate directly to gun ownership.

        Everyone knows that if you really want to make a dent in suicide rates (and crime), you have to go after handguns. But good luck with that agenda.
        Report Abuse
        • Author by tbone (February 23, 2012 2:00 pm ET)
          I should clarify. Stripping guns would lower suicide rates, but it is a political impracticality.
          Report Abuse
            • Author by pete592 (February 23, 2012 3:42 pm ET)
              Joining the military does mean giving up certain protections afforded by the Constitution, such as free speech. The UCMJ carries stiff penalties for disloyal statements by military personnel.
              Report Abuse
                • Author by kamrom (February 23, 2012 8:00 pm ET)
                  Whos talking about taking away rights? An officer in the military could respond to a person's suicidal ambitions by removing the weapon temporarily. If you get put into a mental hospital for 72 hours, they arent gonna let you bring your gun.

                  All this does is make it so that officers cant attempt to intervene unless the soldier explicitly admits and never denies his mental state. If the soldier's suicidal, he needs help! If he's not suicidal, the evaluation will show that too, and there wil be no harm done.

                  No one -- NO ONE -- suggests this is taking away guns. Thats been 100% inferred.
                  Report Abuse
                  • Author by curiousindependent (February 24, 2012 5:30 am ET)
                    5 1
                    Well, I mean, the problem with this is that there are no Republicons that give a hairy rat's a$$ about your average soldier. Throw in a condition that might lead that soldier to suicide, and the Republicons care even less.
                    Report Abuse
            • Author by curiousindependent (February 24, 2012 5:34 am ET)
              ...not to mention unconstitutional.
              No, not really. It would be borderline unconstitutional for them to take guns away from law-abiding citizens who legally own legal weapons. Members of our armed forces don't really have the same rights that the rest of us have.

              Just ONE "forinstance" that I can think of right off the top of my head:

              I can, at any time, go anywhere I want. Members of the armed forces have to have written permission, in advance, to leave the spot they are supposed to be in.

              Oh, and another. I can wear whatever t-shirt I want, as well.
              Report Abuse
          • Author by curiousindependent (February 24, 2012 5:28 am ET)
            2 5
            Not to mention, then you have to strip away pills, high buildings, bridges, cars, residential gas lines, and any number of other ways that a determined suicide can end his/her life.

            I can think of far more reasons than suicide to need to track guns, but those will never happen. After all, if the government knows who all has what guns, they can then easily come take them away.

            Just like they did when they made everyone register their cars. Remember back when everyone had one of those babies? Then they made you register them. Then they confiscated them.

            Gun deaths fall into three categories: homicides, suicides, and accidental killings. In 2001, about 30,000 people died from gunfire in the United States. Set this against the 43,000 annual deaths from motor-vehicle accidents...Suicides accounted for about 58 percent of gun fatalities, or 17,000 to 18,000 deaths, in 2001; another 11,000 deaths, or 37 percent, were homicidesHmm... Makes way more sense to remove cars, doesn't it?
            Report Abuse
            • Author by notsure5 (February 24, 2012 3:58 pm ET)
              Faldse equivalancy - cars do not kill when used as intended unless something goes wrong. Guns' whole purpose is to kill. Don't you think that if something that only kills accidentally needs to be registered for that purpose, that something that is designed to kill when used properly should also?
              Report Abuse
              • Author by curiousindependent (February 24, 2012 8:36 pm ET)
                1 1
                Did you read those numbers? Guns killed 30,000 people in 2001. Cars killed 43,000. Seems to me that the cars do a better job.
                Report Abuse
              • Author by curiousindependent (February 25, 2012 5:07 am ET)
                And, um. You don't get subtle sarcasm, do you?

                ...if the government knows who all has what guns, they can then easily come take them away.

                Just like they did when they made everyone register their cars. Remember back when everyone had one of those babies? Then they made you register them. Then they confiscated them.
                Report Abuse
              • Author by InanimateObject (February 25, 2012 9:39 am ET)
                1 1
                Funny thing, how is it that if a guns sole purpose is to kill, 99.68% of the time they are not used to do so?

                In 2008, a firearm was used in 381,000 violent crimes out of 1.38 mil violent crimes as reported by FBI UCR so based on your premise, there should have been 381,000 murders right?


                Oh my, how can this be, there wre only 12,252 murders and 70,000 injuries from those documented violent crimes.

                Dont forget this government report also
       USDOJ National Victimization Report 2008

                You know, the government agency sub annual report showing in 2008 alone that 4.8 mil violent crimes were not reported. Funny how all these unreported violent crimes involving firearms didn't result in deaths eh?

                Shall we actually consider how many times that a firearm was actually fired each time it was used?

                The criminals state 15% in Firearm Use by Offenders, Bureau of Justice Statistics, November 2001

                Police firearm discharge reports say the same thing.


                Those same reports also show police only hitting their intended target 15% of the time. Guess you have government data to prove the criminals never miss, eh no you dont.

                So you want to crunch the numbers and show everyone how every single violent crime involving a firearm is a guaranteed death? Naw, you wouldnt want to look stupid would you!
                Report Abuse
              • Author by InanimateObject (February 25, 2012 9:44 am ET)
                1 1
                Having or operating a car is not enshrined right, get a clue.

                But if you want to control guns like cars, please oh please helps this occur as...

                Do I need the governments permission to buy a car? No.

                Do I need to buy the car from only certain people with licenses to sell cars? No.

                Can I buy as many cars as I want each week/month/year. Yes

                Can I buy small cars, big cars, slow cars, fast cars, cars that look dangerous? Yes

                Can I buy Hummers virtually like the troops use? Yes.

                Do I have to wait from 5 to 15 days to pick up my car. No

                If I traded in one car for a newer model do I still have to wait five to ten days to pick the new one up. No

                Can I modify my car to allow more fuel, more performance, or better cornering. Yes

                Would I have to turn over to the government without compensation some models of automobiles that might be banned years after I buy them. No

                Do I need a license to buy a car? No
                (in most states)

                Can I buy a car at age 16? Yes.

                Are driving lessons mandated in most high schools? Yes

                Can I buy a car from anyone in any state? Yes.

                Can I sell my car to anyone in any state? Yes

                Can convicted felons buy, own or drive a car. Yes

                In some places (e.g. NYC or New Jersey) would I first need a permit to buy from the police department which sometimes takes up to 2 years to obtain. No

                In some cities (e.g. Washington D.C.) would I have to store your car partially disassembled. No

                Do I need to register a car that I own? No (as long as I keep it on my own property)

                Do I need a background check or waiting period to buy a car? No

                Is my car held responsible if I misuse it? No

                Would failure to register my car be a federal felony (prevents me from owning another one). No

                Do I need to "safe store" my car even though many are stolen and used for criminal purposes? No

                Will I lose my driver's license if I violate the law with my car? Most likely not

                Can I legally drive my car into any state/city in the nation with every jurisdiction honoring my registration/license? Yes

                Shall I go on? Or do you really, really want to treat guns like cars?

                Report Abuse
                • Author by curiousindependent (February 25, 2012 3:07 pm ET)
                  Nope. But maybe we should treat cars like guns. Especially considering that more people die from them, more are used in crimes, and they ARE stolen far more often.

                  Is your gun held responsible if you misuse it?

                  Report Abuse
          • Author by InanimateObject (February 25, 2012 8:45 am ET)
            1 1
            Wow, such an irrelevent and unsubstantiated belief.

            Here is what it will do, people who wish to commit suicde, without access to a firearm, would choose other less lethal methods.

            Knew a local guy here who was banned from buying a firearm from a legal source, he went and built a guiolltine, it worked!

            As a result, there will be an increase of brain damaged and physically damaged indivudals who must be cared for by their family, or the state, all because you have a fetishism belief an inanimate object has supernatural powers to load, aim, and pull its own trigger.

            Any further support of that belief joins those who believe an inanimate object has the ability to use its esp or voice to command anyone near said inanimate object to force them to commit a violent act are for the most part for public safety, locked up in the cuckoo house for being the loveable schizophrenics "that hear and must obey the voices".

            The only thing such a dumb-a-z-z thing of eliminating a tool would do is make some suicide attempts less fatal, it wouldnt reduce the number of attempts and anyone who claims they have proof of the number of attempts being reduced by limiting of a tool are certifiably cuckoo.

            It does not address the root cause, it does not do ANYTHING to fix the root cause problem with that persons feelings or mental state.

            So unless you einsteins want to pony up the additional moneys for those who would now survive a suicide attempt by using a less lethal method, suggest you pony up the moneys and be happy with your UNINTENDED consequences hypocrites.
            Report Abuse
    • Author by Retired (February 23, 2012 1:47 pm ET)
      10 2
      Mr. Keene definitely does not know what he is talking about. I do. Just call it a personal experience. Military leaders need to know any info related to a soldier having non military weapons. Actually, they should register these weapons with their base. Maybe a loss of a personal freedom? Or, loss of a life.
      Report Abuse
        • Author by mary59 (February 23, 2012 3:17 pm ET)
          From what this blog post says, the legislation would prevent commanders from even asking a soldier if he had guns at home.
          Report Abuse
          • Author by InanimateObject (February 25, 2012 9:28 am ET)
            1 1
            Here is an article on gun control in countries with uber strict gun control and not much care for human rights. Yet you people think these unintended consequences wouldnt occur in the US, lol, uh yeah right!


            For example:

            On August 8, 1973, C.L. Sulzberger in a Times op-ed piece, Arms and the Soviet Man, reported that "underground gun factories had been discovered" in several Republics within the Soviet Union. "Machine tools have been stolen from government factories" and used to make guns, "including pistols disguised as fountain pens" and there are "considerable quantities of explosives and firearms" in four Republics." Noted Sulzberger, "The interesting thing is that Soviet society, with its known predilection for discipline and supervision should be suffering at all from this kind of ailment."

            Other newspapers have echoed these reports. On December 11, 1988 England's Manchester Guardian reported that "the number of weapons held illegally in Azerbaijan [then a part of the USSR] is clearly formidable."

            The Times has reported several times on the illegal manufacture of firearms in that most brutal and effective of police states, Maoist China. On February 10, 1980 its Peking reporter, Fox Butterfield, described a recent Peking bank robbery and stated that during Mao's rule "many workers in factories are said to have fashioned knives and guns." In June of that year Butterfield reported on another Peking bank robbery in which two criminals carried four homemade guns. Other news articles in the Times have described gang wars and other criminal acts in China where such bootleg weapons were used.

            In these two highly regimented Communist police states even the ownership of machine tools by private individuals was strictly forbidden, as was their use for private purposes. Yet in both nations, during the height of Communist power and despite omnipresent informers, bootleg guns were made either by stealing the machinery outright for use in underground factories or were used to make guns in state owned factories under the noses of authorities.

            The Times archives provide many other examples of the ease with which guns of any sort can be fabricated quickly and in large numbers even in primitive conditions. On may 7, 1987 Times correspondent Seth Mydans reported on Philippine gun bootleggers who manufactured to order "sophisticated copies of European and American handguns complete with nickel or silver plate and counterfeit brand markings." In the town of Danao "3,000 gun makers provided a livelihood, directly or indirectly, for 60% of the residents." A portion of their products are "periodically discovered" being smuggled into Japan.

            Mydans described a typical gun maker, Benjamin Barriga, who produced these copies "on a hand turned lathe in a pigsty that abuts his thatched home..." And another manufacturer "whose five-man assembly line shares a thatched workshop with wandering pigs and chickens."

            The Times reported on August 18, 1980 on fighting between Moslems and Hindus in the Indian state of Kashmir "where the manufacture of so-called country guns is something of a cottage industry." On April 27, 1987 the Times reported widespread gun bootlegging in the Indian state of Bihar, where "even an old truck's steering wheel can be fashioned into a gun barrel at one of dozens of makeshift factories."

            Thus, experience proves that even in the violently repressive police states or under primitive conditions the most sophisticated and varied kinds of weapons can be bootlegged.

            In the U.S. there are of course no restrictions on the private ownership of machine tools; anyone with a little cash can buy a lathe and milling machine, and the necessary skills are readily acquired or hired. With millions of available machine tools and millions of garages and basements in which bootleg factories can be established, the number of guns that can be illegally produced is unlimited.

            Predictably, the tighter that firearms restrictions would become, the greater would be the rewards for bootlegging. Thus, the only way to enforce such laws would be to emulate, and go much further than, the Communist dictatorships which themselves failed to stamp out gun bootlegging.

            It would be laughable to attempt enforcement without first prohibiting the private, individual possession of the machine tools. Those remaining in factories would have to be carefully monitored and controlled. Naturally, few Americans would willingly obey bans on ownership of tools. To enforce those bans the guarantees under the Fourth Amendment against unreasonable search and seizure would have to be abandoned in order to permit random inspection of homes and shops suspected of harboring machinery or machinists.

            So let us suppose Holder's Fast and Furious conspiracy had succeeded in mobilizing public support in such a way as to satisfy to the fullest the gun banning desires of Chicago Democrats. The evidence from Mao's China, the USSR, the Philippines, et al. via the NY times makes it obvious that the only way to enforce such a ban would be to abandon our long held Constitutional protections of personal freedom, property, and privacy. And that would require a fundamental transformation of American society.

            Ah, but of course. That fundamental transformation is exactly what has been declared as the goal. A dead American lawman is a small price to pay for that, and as Holder has said, no apology need be given.
            Report Abuse
        • Author by InanimateObject (February 25, 2012 9:26 am ET)
          1 1

          Haynes vs. U.S. 390 U.S. 85 1968 where the US Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in favor of Haynes that any law requiring a felon to self incriminate themselves and violate their 5th amendment rights was not enforceable as a charge for prosecution.

          Hence criminals don't have to follow 85% of the existing gun control laws that do so, e.g. your stolen weapons, registrations, etc.... Amazing how the criminals don't have to obey these laws yet only law-abiding citizens do?

          This just validates the hypocrisy that laws affect only the felons!

          After all, 20,000 gun laws and we see how effective a piece of legislation is at stopping violence because if it did, there wouldn't be ANY VIOLENT CRIME.

          But you have all those registration schemes throughout the world that have solved thosuands of crimes like the Canadian registry, uh nope. In fact they just scrapped their long gun regostry. New Zealand, uh nope, they scrapped theirs as useless also. England, darn, such a consistent trend, no crimes solved, much less prevented.

          They are even beginning to scrap the CoBIS system in NJ, NY, MD where ballistic data of a fired shell was kept from each firearm sold, and since 1998 $4 million per year to maintain, they have traced two firearms to confirm, yep, they were stolen.

          So prove that these registration ka ka does anything other than infringe upon law abiding gun owners or go fly a kite.

          But if there was a provision that anti gun zealots would be required to post openly on their doors, person or signs at their home that they are a gun free zone, many pro gun advocates would think about considering defacto registration.

          But when Canada couldnt even reach 45% compliance to the registration, you expect better results in the US ROTFLMFAO, ROTFLMFAO, ROTFLMFAO.
          Report Abuse
      • Author by okiepoli (February 23, 2012 3:39 pm ET)
        When I was in the Army I lived on-base, in the barracks. I chose to keep my privately-owned pistol in the armory, per regulation. (To not do so would be a violation of the UCMJ - in other words, a crime.)
        I didn't have a problem checking my weapon in or out, but I did have to state my intentions (base firing range, off-base, etc.)
        Would this additional step prevent me from killing myself? I doubt it. I do think that keeping my pistol in the armory would prevent it from being stolen - that fact alone would be incentive to keep it there if I lived off-base.
        Report Abuse
    • Author by samm5892 (February 23, 2012 3:45 pm ET)
      1 2
      There are two immediate issues:

      One: Military commanders have no legal authority to enter an off-post residence. So even if the commander did desire to do anything about a member of the military that he or she suspected of having firearms, the only avenue would be to contact local law enforcement.

      Two: The basic rule is: Don't issue orders that can't be enforced. As a twenty year retired Army veteran, I can tell you the only way a commander would know if I had firearms was if I voluntarily told him.

      Report Abuse
    • Author by mercado (February 23, 2012 5:03 pm ET)
      Speaking of the NRA, does anyone know why the cheese himself Wayne LaPierre who was born in 1947, avoided serving in Vietnam nd the military all together?
      One would think LaPierre would have joined up as soon as he turned 17! Wonder what held him back, maybe a backbone made of quivering, yellow jello?
      Report Abuse
      • Author by mary59 (February 23, 2012 11:43 pm ET)

        Scroll down to find that Mr. Petite got a doctor to write that he had a "nervous disorder"
        Report Abuse
        • Author by curiousindependent (February 24, 2012 5:36 am ET)
          A lot of the chickenhawks seem to have one of those. It is known to the rest of us as "cowardice".
          Report Abuse
        • Author by worrierking (February 24, 2012 11:14 am ET)

          If only I had been aware of all of the alternate paths that were available to me in 1969. I had a higher draft number than this dirtbag. I had a cyst on my butt, I had bad eyesight, a bad back, neurological problems, was a contentious objector and all of that got me a Draft Status of 1A. In short, I could breath and walk so I was drafted.
          Report Abuse
    • Author by kamrom (February 23, 2012 8:05 pm ET)
      5 1
      One major thing to point out, is that the NRA tends to be well known for...lying. And becoming hyper-aggressive. This is the same group, after all, that claimed that every democratic president since at least clinton was going to take guns away. They never admit they were wrong, and infact, never even acknowledge that they had that position before each and every election.

      Whenever the NRA supports something or does something, it should be examined with that in mind.
      Report Abuse
      • Author by curiousindependent (February 24, 2012 5:38 am ET)
        3 1
        Not just presidents, and it has been way longer than since Clinton. I remember a billboard during one gubernatorial race (which Anne Richards won) that said "DON'T LET ANNIE GET YOUR GUNS".
        Report Abuse
      • Author by InanimateObject (February 25, 2012 8:58 am ET)
        1 2
        Aw, poor widdle baby, upset the child your anti gun extremists heroes birthed has learned how to play the game better than the anti's, you know, the people who wrote the book on any lie that reachs their goal is acceptable.

        You should be proud of the child you birthed, learning how to play the game soooo much better than the few remainig anti gun extremists, especially since so many of the NRA's talking points are backedup by government facts from agencies they dont control, dont manage, and dont provide data to, facts you cant refute.

        Unless you can prove the NRA is in charge of the...

        US Department of Justice USDOJ
        Federal Bureau of Investigantion Uniform Crime Report FBI UCR
        Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms BATF
        US Supreme Court
        All police departments
        All biased left wing media (covers most media organizations)
        Karpeles Historical Government Document Museums
        US Census Bureau
        Violence Policy Center VPC
        Journal of American Medical Association JAMA
        Australian government database database crime &
        Great Britain government database crime & statistics-Home Office UK
        Canadian government database crime & statistics -Statcan

        Funny how all those definitely not pro gun GOVERNMENT, medical, and even anti gun zealots data show just what a lie and failure gun control is and always will be in reducing violence.

        If your really upset at who created the NRA legislative wing, please go look in a mirror and yell at yourself.

        If that doesnt work, we suggest you slap yourself silly.
        Report Abuse
    • Author by Smokeydog (February 23, 2012 9:37 pm ET)
      1 1
      Depression is the first cause of contemplating suicide. If any employer--military or civilian--values the productivity of staff, they will be familiar with the signs of depression. It doesn't take a psychiatric degree to recognize the symptoms of depression; a 3x5 card will do. Once recognized, steps can be taken to treat the individual. That goes a long way toward preventing suicide, and treating an illness that can affect many areas of worker (soldier) productivity.
      Report Abuse
      • Author by InanimateObject (February 25, 2012 9:07 am ET)
        1 1
        Aw, someone who has a more than a clue, keep talking oh most sane one!
        Report Abuse
    • Author by BambiB (February 24, 2012 8:24 am ET)
      1 1
      "The NRA's involvement with this defense legislation rose more than a few eyebrows."

      Really? Not "raised"? (Not cliche?)

      If you're that poor in your speciality (writing) why should we listen to anything you have to say on a topic you know nothing about?

      The reason the NRA pushed this particular issue is because military personnel were being harassed by commanders for firearms they owned and issuing blanket orders like, "You will not possess firearms off post." The Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the pre-existing right to keep and bear arms. Ironically, every commander swore an oath to "preserve and defend" the Constitution - and yet, they were engaged in oppressing those who exercised their Second Amendment rights. That's why the NRA slammed the door on them.

      The commanders who tried to prevent exercise of Second Amendment rights by troops under their command should be prosecuted for violating their oath and engaging in anti-Constitutional activity. That won't happen. But at least their ability to infringe the RKBA is gone.

      As for suicide - if that's what a person chooses, who are you to say otherwise? The use of a firearm makes the likelihood of success greater - but it does not increase the frequency of attempted suicide. The Japanese, for example, have no guns but a suicide rate that is double our own. The preferred method of suicide? Jumping from tall buildings.

      But then that was your next target, right? Banning tall buildings?

      Report Abuse
      • Author by Rottweiler (February 24, 2012 2:51 pm ET)
        Heh-heh. You joust well, sir. Will you take up another lance...?
        Report Abuse
      • Author by Greencat_left (February 24, 2012 5:28 pm ET)
        3 1
        The reason the NRA pushed this particular issue is because military personnel were being harassed by commanders for firearms they owned and issuing blanket orders like, "You will not possess firearms off post."

        Sorry, but that sounds like NRA spin to me (in other words, BS). I just googled this topic and found nothing about alleged commander abuses of authority. Do you have a link to verify that story? No Fox, pro-gun, or NRA sources, please.
        Report Abuse
    • Author by dlimo (February 24, 2012 10:48 am ET)
      The first thread of posts really misses the target. It is not for the purpose of stripping away their guns. The true concern here, is that a commanding officer cannot have a full conversation with a soldier under his/her command from a perspective of concern. If you know someone is not being forthright, and you are concerned they will hurt themselves or someone else; you should be able to probe a little further. This amendment prevents that from happening. How many lawsuits and premature endings to military careers will we see after the first suicides of soldiers who were asked, but chose to not be upfront with their superiors?
      Report Abuse
      • Author by InanimateObject (February 25, 2012 9:05 am ET)
        1 1
        There are obviously procedures in place in the military code and system, otherwise how could they successfully prosecute 9 different Army officers under military justice codes for I believe dereliction of duty, failure to act and notify superiors of the FT Hood shooters activities and actions prior to the FT Hood massacre!

        Such a common trend of the government, failure to act and enforce.

        Such a mark on those officers record effectively precludes them from major advancement, essentially ending their career if they had the goal of being a high ranking officer.
        Report Abuse
    • Author by barscotch9441 (February 24, 2012 11:31 am ET)
      1 1
      What the NRA describes as a "pro-Second Amendment provision" is legislation that prohibits the Defense Department from "collecting or recording any information relating to the otherwise lawful acquisition, possession, ownership, carrying, or other use of a privately owned firearm." In short, the amendment, signed into law along with the underlying act in January 2011, bars commanders from even questioning their troops about privately-owned firearms kept off-base.

      I'm no constitutional lawyer, but don't the boldface parts of this law directly violate the "well-regulated" language of the 2nd Amendment?
      Report Abuse
      • Author by Rottweiler (February 24, 2012 2:49 pm ET)
        1 2
        Nope. "Well-regulated" modifies the term "militia", not the phrase "right to keep and bear arms", i.e. the militia can be regulated when acting as a militia, but that does nothing to affect the individual right itself, which exists apart from any type of military service. The SCOTUS so held in D.C. v. Heller.
        Report Abuse
      • Author by InanimateObject (February 25, 2012 9:00 am ET)
        1 1
        The second amendment as RATIFIED by the state’s.

        “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

        Maybe you can explain how for the entire history of English language, that the independent clause of a complex sentence, has always set the meaning of the complex sentence. (“the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”)

        Yet some now claim the dependent clause (A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State) is the determinator of the complex sentence meaning and history and English scholars have all been wrong throughout the history of written English. Have at it, but warn us when Hades will be freezing over for you actually having data to support your claim.

        Lets see, have you removed the 30 plus references from the congressional writings 1774-1789 & the federalist papers showing well regulated as to meaning well trained in the arts of war? Much less all those dictionaries that say the same thing? No, you haven’t. Reference Karpeles Museum, CA.

        Maybe you removed that original draft of what became the second amendment. You know, the one that was clearly written as a collective right, but then was changed to what exists today. Why did our founding fathers change the amendment draft if it was what they wanted? Oh that’s right, actions do speak louder than words. Ref Karpeles Museum, CA again.

        original proposed draft 
the right to keep and bear arms 
of the 
(17 TH of 20 amendments)
        on display at the Karpeles Manuscript Library 
Santa Ana, California

        "That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well regulated Militia composed of the body of the people trained to arms is the proper, natural and safe defense of a free State. That standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, and therefore ought to be avoided as far as the circumstances and protection of the community will admit; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to and governed by the civil power."

        Then of course, here is the logic failure the anti’s always have. They always fail to prove, that the miltia existed before the armed individual.

        Funny how all that was before the 2008 rulings eh?

        Funny how in the 2008 Heller ruling all 9 justices agreed that bearing arms was an individual right. That 5-4 vote was on the constitutionality of the Washington D.C. gun ban, read it, you will see!
        Report Abuse
    • Author by NiceguyEddie (February 24, 2012 2:46 pm ET)
      In short, the amendment, signed into law along with the underlying act in January 2011, bars commanders from even questioning their troops about privately-owned firearms kept off-base.

      Did anyone else immediately think of FORT HOOD upon reading this?!

      Meybe they plan on excluding Muslims from this provision?

      Report Abuse
    • Author by Rottweiler (February 24, 2012 2:47 pm ET)
      1 2
      What about the majority of military gun owners who aren't suicide risks? Their rights get tossed under the bus, huh?


      Nothing is perfect in an imperfect world. Some folks kill themselves. Selah.
      Report Abuse
    • Author by InanimateObject (February 25, 2012 9:17 am ET)
      1 1
      The DOD's 2010 suicide event report supports this analysis. According to the report, 175 service members killed themselves using firearms that year -- 62 percent of the total -- while 40 made unsuccessful attempts to do so. By contrast, drugs and use of sharp or blunt objects were the most frequent method for a suicide attempt. There were 13 successful and 496 unsuccessful attempts by service members to take their lives using drugs; those figures are 2 and 122 for injury with a sharp or blunt object.

      Funny how you people cant even see the hypocrisy admitted by the article writers own data.

      848 documented attemps at suicide 215/848 = 25% of all suicides involved a firearm, yet 509/848 = 60% were with drugs/overdoses. Wow, uh why isnt there any legislative action by the article wirter to ban drugs and drug abuse especially offbase also eh? After all if drugs are removed as a tool suicide attempts would surely be reduced in the anti gun extremists irrelevent causality ka ka methodology!

      Hey dont forget all those sharp objects the servicemen carry, bayonets, knives, etc, etc as surely you must control all of that off base also 124/848 = 15%.

      Thanks for the info anti gun zealot, you can even write something that doesnt make you look stupid!
      Report Abuse