Fort Hood shooting renews concealed carry debate - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Fort Hood shooting renews concealed carry debate

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The debate continues over a regulation that prevents soldiers from carrying guns with them on military establishments.

In 1993 new regulations went into effect barring military and civilian army personnel from carrying weapons on post. 

Congressman Steve Stockman introduced a bill in 2013 to repeal that policy. Others are also calling for change. But, some leaders are saying not so fast.

The panic of the alarms, the hunt for a gunman and the news of soldiers killed and wounded brought flashbacks of 2009 for retired Army Sergeant Howard Ray.

"I was not able to take care of my responsibility to my soldiers and save their lives," Sgt. Ray said.

The lingering feeling is one of regret. His fellow soldiers were hurt and dying and his hands were tied as Major Nidal Hasan ran past him firing shots.

"I was in civilian clothes that day. I took my gun off because of regulations," Sgt. Ray said. "Those regulations cost peoples' lives."

Soldiers have not being able to carry weapons on post since 1993. With 16 casualties from shootings at Ft. Hood in the past 5 years, Ray says change is paramount. He says we must meet people like specialist Ivan Lopez with equal or greater force.

"Three things happen, they give up, they shoot themselves or they're apprehended," Sgt. Ray said.

Congressman Michael McCaul echoed those feelings Thursday.

"We are not allowing our trained combat active duty officers to carry weapons on base I guarantee if they had that ability they could have stop this guy almost immediately," McCaul said.

Army General Ray Odierno says the policy is unlikely to change.

"..We have our military police and others that are armed and I believe that's appropriate and I think that - I believe that - it allows us the level of protection necessary," Gen. Odierno said.

Killeen Mayor Dan Corbin served 14 years of active duty, six of which he was stationed at Ft. Hood.

He sides with Odierno.

"Yes maybe you could've prevented a death here if somebody had a gun and had shot this person earlier, but between Nov. 5, 2009 and now. How many other shooting events would there have been and how many other people would've been killed?" Corbin said.

He also gave us insight into how Ft. Hood leader Lt. General Mark Milley feels.

"He's thought this out carefully I think he firmly believes we're better off as far as the safety of the soldiers not carrying guns on post," Corbin said.

In response Ray offers this eerie warning.

"We need to protect our soldiers. This is going to happen again," Ray said.

There is currently a petition for legalizing concealed carry for soldiers on www.whitehouse.gov. It currently has 98 thousand signatures.

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