Presidential candidate Jeb Bush says he wants to overturn the ban on arming military recruiters, a response to the killing of five servicemen in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In doing so, he'll undo a policy enacted under his dad's administration, back in 1992.
In a campaign stop in Nevada, Bush said "it seems to me that if you have military bases or recruiting offices, these are symbols of American might, they're targets." He also called upon Congress to act to overturn the ban.
Ironically, Jeb Bush would be overturning a policy from his father's presidential administration, adopted when President George H. W. Bush was in the last year of his term in office.
Oliver Darcy with The Blaze, a site founded by conservative talk show host Glen Beck, reported that the having recruiting stations become "gun free zones" came from Department of Defense Directive 5210.56, signed by Donald J. Atwood, Deputy Defense Secretary under George H. W. Bush.
Well, and look at the Fort Hood shootings. We had two shootings now that were mass casualty situations and now the recruiting station. Unfortunately, the executive order put in place by President Bill Clinton back in the nineties took away the rights for service members to carry, conceal, and to protect themselves here in the homeland.
The conservative "Patriot Post" makes a similar claim.
In researching all of President Bill Clinton's Executive Orders (you can look for yourself here) from 1993, none of them covered this issue.
I did find this military regulation, Army Regulation 190-14, signed in March of 1993. But all it does is implement the Bush Administration policy from 1992.
Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno, who served as the military commander in charge of forces in Iraq during the George W. Bush Administration, said he'll review the policy, but noted that such a policy could cause more problems than it solves. Sure enough, in Gainesville, Georgia, a recruiter accidentally shot himself while on duty.
A lot of the debate after shootings at Ft. Hood (and the less-documented shooting at an Arkansas military recruiting station) was about whether the act was terrorism or workplace violence, missing the point about whether the military should protect itself better against either event.
I'm inclined to agree with Republican candidates (others like Scott Walker and Donald Trump agree with Jeb Bush) and like Bobby Jindal's plan for providing armed guards for these stations. But I don't agree with attempts to blame the incident on Bill Clinton. Evidence shows the policy was developed before Clinton became president.
And Republicans who want to lift the gun ban should be prepared to explain it to a small group of constituents, the ones who have conspiracy theories about the military concerning exercises like "Jade Helm 15" and the belief that our military is about to put us all in Wal-Mart concentration camps.
John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga. He can be reached at email@example.com.
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more informationTrack ballot status
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place