Chattanooga and the Oath

Chattanooga shooting

Thursday, 16 July 2015, Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez opened fire on a military recruiting center at a Chattanooga strip mall, then drove to a local Navy operations support center and launched another attack. He ended up killing four Marines and a sailor.

While we mourn with the families and friends that have lost loved ones to a senseless act of hate and terrorism, what’s more disturbing is that these men – charged with defending our freedoms and liberty – were denied the tools they needed to defend themselves while on the job.


If you don’t already know, it’s essentially illegal for anyone but Military Police (either on duty, or on their way to or from their post) to carry firearms with them at military locations. This includes, but isn’t limited to bases, recruiting offices, support centers, etc. What’s more, this prohibition extends to state National Guard facilities as well.

In 1992 a Department of Defense directive was issued that banned military personnel from carrying weapons. In 19 years, 21 attacks on military installations (including Fort Hood, the Navy Yard, and in Chattanooga). It sounds like some kind of security measures are needed.

Army chief of staff Gen. Ray Odierno said on Friday he has no plans to arm recruiters or even to add security patrols to military recruitment centers. Apparently he is content to leave these locations unarmed and unguarded. Why? The only logical conclusion would be if he doesn’t trust his troops to handle their weapons properly.

New “security measures”

New “security measures” are being implemented, however. For example, recruiters can now close the blinds at the office and won’t have to wear their uniforms. We’re curious what material those blinds are made out of that will protect the people inside those offices from bullets.

Here in Utah, the law “allows” members of the Utah National Guard to be armed. On Saturday Utah Gov. Gary Herbert even instructed Utah National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Jeff Burton to “explore additional ways to protect our men and women serving in the armed forces” but stopped short of ordering them to be at all times armed.

“Unfortunately, there are those in our society who specifically target military personnel when seeking to do harm. We must do everything in our power to protect these men and women, and I am pleased that Utah has an existing policy in place that allows the members of our National Guard to be properly armed.” – Utah Gov. Gary Herbert

Utah wasn’t alone. Texas, Florida, Oklahoma and Indiana have also ordered additional security measures be taken in their states.

Keep your oath

Every person entering military service must take an oath:

I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).

Notice that the Oath includes a solemn promise to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic”. This part of the Oath comes before the next parts about obeying “the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over” them. Similarly, one cannot follow an order that violates any part of the Constitution of the United States without violating the Oath.

The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads as follows:

“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.”

The Right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed. Are military personnel “people”? Sure they are. Is prohibiting them from carrying sidearms on military installations an “infringement“? Absolutely.

Military Personnel: the time is now to obey your Oath. The 1992 Department of Defense directive is by every definition an infringement upon the Second Amendment. Your Oath requires you to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Following any policy, order, or directive that violates the Constitution is a violation of your Oath and begs the question: is that policy, order, or directive (and the person enforcing the same) one of the “enemies”?

There will be a time when you have to make a choice between following an order or upholding the Constitution. Where do you draw the line?

When will you uphold your Oath?

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