The clash between modern history and traditional history has gone on for centuries, and nothing in that mess is more passionate than the question of weapon safety. The issue is brought to the forefront each August, during the annual Army-Navy football game.
When members of the U.S. military face danger in modern conflicts, at least one officer says they should be brought up to par with their old-school predecessors.
During this year’s game, retired reserve Army Major Scott Brown and Marine Corps Major Patrick Kinley issued an open letter calling for the spectators to be screened for non-toxic triggers in firearms. Because both the military and its legions of fanatical armorers shoot thousands of rounds each season, including live ammunition, both men were disturbed by the rise in non-lethal military weapons being brought into civilian settings.
“The last eight years have proved that modern weapons that don’t require trigger pull can be lethal,” the men wrote. “Imagine the injuries and fatalities that might occur if anyone, anywhere, had access to such weapons.”
The letter goes on to make other pleas — recommending that all weapons be “Nuclear Free Zone” weapons and that all automatic weapons be laser-lighted by the end of this year.
The letters were posted to Defense One, which says the views expressed are those of the men and the fact is neither, but it raises an important point. Civilians should never have access to weapons with their deadliest feature open to abuse, even if they are not legally banned.
Brown was a retired explosives specialist from the Virginia National Guard, specializing in precision artillery devices. He was flown to President George W. Bush’s 2003 inauguration in a customized helicopter with a gun turret and live ammunition on board. So, while Brown is not advocating that civilians get all weapons and ammunition removed, he is suggesting that any non-bullet proven to be non-toxic that does not use trigger pull be barred from being on display in civilian spaces.
Speaking to Wired, Brown suggested that wouldn’t affect a lot of people.
“Some people might say that it’s only a few rifle ranges that are then used by people who should really not have them, but this is the Army. You’re not having kids at places like ‘the range’, are you?” Brown said. “Would I ever suggest an entirely new policy that would ban rifles from being openly carried on game day, but allow the Navy to have them if it’s OK for them to use them in training? No. There are certainly a lot of policies in the Army that would give us a better understanding on how to keep people safe, or perhaps how to better establish rules of engagement in the field.”
The game itself is certainly a bit unusual, often held on the day before the Fourth of July in both 2011 and 2012, and with both teams wearing uniforms similar to their American teams. As such, the crowd is typically made up of a few dozen military personnel, the Navy wearing a special red-and-white color scheme, and, in 2011, even its mascot, the Flying Seahawk.
Read the full story at Wired.
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