While reading the front-page article regarding base security protocol in the Sept. 18 issue (“How safe are bases? Officials mull security protocol in wake of shootings at Navy Yard, Fort Hood”), I was struck that allowing licensed concealed-carry permit holders to carry firearms on military installations was not discussed. While such a solution will not prevent active shooters, it does have the potential for reducing their impact.

According to the article, armed responders arrived approximately seven minutes after shooting began at the Washington Navy Yard, and this was hailed as a rapid response. I am not indicting the armed response in this tragedy. The simple fact is that law enforcement cannot be ever-present.

When servicemembers deploy overseas, the law of armed conflict allows for an inherent right of self-defense. Yet when those same servicemembers perform their duties on post, they are severely limited in their pursuit of self-defense through denial of their right to lawfully carry a concealed firearm.

One characteristic that the overwhelming majority of mass shootings share is that they occur in so-called gun-free zones. It can be argued that gun-free zones actually serve as targets for those intent on conducting mass shootings. As the article points out, conducting searches of all vehicles and personnel would cause myriad concerns from increased cost to morale issues. Absent such measures, individuals with bad intent will continue to bring firearms into prohibited areas while those who follow the law will remain virtually defenseless.

Every day, people in the United States use firearms for lawful self-defense. However, those who wear the uniform are foreclosed from this possibility whenever they report to work on base.

Capt. Allen C. LaDriere

Camp Arifjan, Kuwait

Laws don’t deter shooters

Regarding the Sept. 18 column “Don’t ever view mass shootings as normal”: I would like to know how Washington Post columnist Petula Dvorak thinks banning automatic weapons would have stopped the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard. The shooter used a shotgun, and a pistol stolen from a police officer he shot. Explosives are illegal and look at the Oklahoma City bombing.

Making things illegal does not stop them from happening. The United States needs to focus on rehabilitation and mental health for criminals, drug addicts and mental health patients.

Before we had “assault” weapons and guns, people would go around and kill hundreds of people with swords, knives and axes. Just like today, the “commoners” weren’t armed to defend themselves and people died as a result.

Stop trying to blame everything but the problem. Humans are the problem.

Spc. Brendan Luba

Bagram, Afghanistan

Guardsman, pageant good fit

I’ve been an avid watcher of the Miss America pageant for years. I remember the days when some of the contestants would travel along with Miss America to do special shows abroad for our troops who were serving in Vietnam.

Miss America, you’ve coming a long way baby!

Miss Kansas Theresa Vail surely did her country proud in the 2014 Miss America competition in Atlantic City, N.J. From her tattoo controversy to her Kansas Army National Guard commitment, we will always be loyal to her.

Way to go, Theresa!

Wayne E. Williams

Camden, N.J.

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