Members of the military have a right to effective self-defense

Every member of the military is trained in the use of his weapons, members of the best units in the combat arms train far more thoroughly than civilian police, and many of them have engaged in firefights under the most stressful situations imaginable. Moreover, members of support units are accustomed to constantly carrying weapons when deployed “downrange,” even sleeping with them an arm’s length away (at most). Service-members possesses an individual and collective right of self-defense. In fact, even peacetime rules of engagement in the most benign of postings allow members of our military to defend themselves against hostile acts. And with ISIS vowing to strike American soldiers wherever it can find them, no posting is truly safe.

Our men and women in uniform do not lack for courage. Just ask the family of Captain John Gaffaney, an Army nurse who reportedly died charging Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan. Captain Gaffaney did not lack for courage.

He did, however, lack a weapon. Long and bitter experience in war and in law enforcement teach that there is no way to guarantee safety in the face of a determined attacker, and we are under no illusions that more guns will stop every terrorist. But if and when a firefight does break out, a gun can give any member of the military a fighting chance. They deserve at least that, urgently.

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