By David Weigel
July 20 at 8:36 PM
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is working on legislation to allow soldiers to carry guns on military bases, and could introduce it as soon as this week. That could establish him as a leader among conservatives who say last week’s massacre at a Chattanooga, Tennessee recruiting station should change how the military looks at the issue.
“After Major [Nidal] Hasan did the shooting at Fort Hood, we did legislation on arming military on bases,” said Paul, in a roundtable with reporters at his Washington, D.C campaign office. “This was a recruiting station, right? Well, I would include recruiting stations. One of the weird things is that we have 15-20 states where you can open carry. So everybody can carry, except for the military? I think that’s crazy. The rules that apply to everybody should at least apply to the military.”
Paul, who was elected to the Senate a year after Hasan’s 2009 killing spree on the Texas military base, has long favored a policy shift that would allow guns on bases. His new bill may go even further than the versions that followed Fort Hood. In 2013, former Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Tex.) sponsored a Safe Military Bases Act, written to allow guns. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), one of Paul’s rivals for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, has used his perch on the Armed Services Committee to ask for hearings on the gun policy.