Two fatal shooting incidents at Fort Hood and the Washington Navy Yard have some people calling for soldiers to be allowed to carry side arms. But, former JAG lawyer and South Texas College of Law Professor Geoffrey Corn says that would disrupt the culture of leadership control on those bases. Despite the recent incidents, it might make no difference when it comes to safety.
“If you look at the long-term record of safety and security on a military installation,” Corn points out, “those are probably the safest places in the nation.”
Corn says in many cases, young soldiers live in barracks. He calls private possession of weapons there a recipe for disaster.
“The military is about leaders requiring subordinates to do things that sometimes are unpleasant,” he says, “that they don't want to do.”
When a sergeant tells his troops to do something, they need to do it. Possessing a weapon might lead a young, aggressive soldier to challenge an order.