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Old September 1, 2011, 01:27 AM   #1
JustThisGuy
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Visiting a USAF Base

I am retired military. I will be traveling from Houston, TX to San Antonio, TX this month to visit the DEERS office at Lackland AFB. I typically carry a gun in the vehicle, as is permitted by Texas law. However, such is not permitted on U.S. Military Bases.

My question is this. Does anyone know if it is permitted to lock the gun in a locked container within a locked glove box in order to go onto the base, or all all guns off-limits on the base?

What about retired military who wish to shoot at the range? Is there any accommodation for that?

I hate to think that I might have to leave my gun in Houston for a trip to San Antonio.
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Old September 1, 2011, 02:55 AM   #2
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Bases seem to be different. Some require extensive check in of visitors (everyone in the car) and others seem less stringent (driver only has to show military ID). But from what I understand from my SIL guns are carefully controlled on base. I would call security at the particular base.

From Lackland's website: http://www.lackland.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123213726

Quote:
For more information on registering privately-owned firearms in base housing facilities, contact Pass and Registration, Bldg. 5616, at 671-9162.

For more information on storing privately-owned firearms in the Security Forces armory, contact 671-2451.
They require all privately owned firearms on base to be registered, so I doubt they are going to allow visitors with them unless they are cleared by Pass Registration.
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Old September 1, 2011, 03:06 AM   #3
kadima
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Here in Italy all visitors' weapons, unless brought for specific purposes (e.g. to a firing range) in a military establishment are simply surrended to the MPs at the entrance gate and given back on exit. I presume that a similar arrangment would work also there.



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Old September 1, 2011, 03:10 AM   #4
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I remember the good old days when a civilian could drive to a military base, show his drivers license, and gain access without being searched or harassed, and take a tour of the naval ships or the airplanes. I remember once being allowed into the captain's cabin and the navigation room of an aircraft carrier, and in another instance being allowed by a pilot to sit in the captain's seat of a US Army cargo plane. Ah, the good old days before 9/11.
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Old September 1, 2011, 05:33 AM   #5
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When I visited a former Army station to show my wife where I had been when I was in the service, our vehicle was thoroughly searched ... with us standing outside and several feet away ... before we were allowed to proceed onto the base. This was in MD and I'm not legal in MD anyway so I had no firearms but, if I had, they would not have been allowed beyond the security point.
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Old September 1, 2011, 07:01 AM   #6
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Thanks very much for the tips. I'll give Lackland Pass and Registration a call. I would be fine with surrendering the guns (my wife carries too) to the Gate Officers if that is ok with Lackland.
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Old September 1, 2011, 07:52 AM   #7
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@ American Eagle

Several years before 9/11 and the USS cole thing my Dad and I visited Coronado Island and toured several naval ships. The ONLY check was a requirement to show your DL at the gate after that I do not think we saw a single guard for the rest of our trip.

I havn't had the chance to go back for recreation since, but I doubt in this day and age a civilian can even get near the ships god forbid tour them. Interesting thing is I just visited the area for business (did not have a chance to do anything fun) and seems to me they have much more in the way of "torpedo" netting and harbor patrols by both military and non military boats. I also remember seeing an SH-60 on what seemed like constant patrol.


Funny little fact though, thinking back I knew more about the weapons systems on the cruiser we toured than the guy giving the tour...
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Old September 1, 2011, 11:26 AM   #8
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Patriot86.....don't ask how, but I actually managed to get a tour of a warship last year. I had to pull a lot of strings since civilians are ordinarily not allowed within 500 feet of one anymore. However, I had a sailor with a pistol strapped to his side escorting me everywhere I went, and giving me an evil look the whole time. Definitely nowhere near as pleasant and relaxed as it used to be prior to 9/11.

Pretty soon the only way a civilian will have any access to a base will be if they are married to a soldier, or the child of a soldier who lives inside the base.
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Old September 1, 2011, 03:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Patriot86.....don't ask how, but I actually managed to get a tour of a warship last year. I had to pull a lot of strings since civilians are ordinarily not allowed within 500 feet of one anymore. However, I had a sailor with a pistol strapped to his side escorting me everywhere I went, and giving me an evil look the whole time. Definitely nowhere near as pleasant and relaxed as it used to be prior to 9/11.
I've never been to an Army, Navy, or Air Force base that doesn't allow such (since 2001).
You just need an insider or sympathetic party, that can set up the "show and tell" (not as hard as it sounds). As long as there is a volunteer qualified to escort you, at the time scheduled, you're good to go.
Escorts really don't see you as a threat, and, generally, enjoy being able to see civilians get impressed by their equipment. There's no reason to be nervous around them. But, you're right -- their job is to stop you from doing stupid things, via whatever means necessary. Don't do anything stupid, or try to sneak a peak at things they don't want you looking at.

We used to provide escorts for anyone, within reason, that wanted to check out our helicopters (on a SOC base, even). The rules were simple: Maintain line-of-sight, and stay within 10 feet of the escort. No climbing on the helicopter. Absolutely no pictures. No cell phones, pagers, or similar devices. Ask, before doing anything, or touching anything.

What's funny, is that it was actually easier to get a flight on one of these classified behemoths, than it was to get through the main gate with a firearm.

--Last time I was there, Lackland was not storing weapons at the gate, for visitors. If you didn't have written permission to bring it on base, you were sent packing.
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Old September 1, 2011, 03:34 PM   #10
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No go about 5 years ago at Lackland

When My son graduated basic at Lackland, roughly 5 years ago, I emailed and called about a concealed weapon on base. Or about checking it at the gate when entering. I received an "absolutley, positivley NO" answer on both.
I left it locked up at the motel when going to the base. We were staying close by. And I had the weapon for the trip down and back from the base.

PS. Saw my first jack rabbit while visiting there. Man those things are huge compared to the cottontails around here.
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Old September 1, 2011, 03:40 PM   #11
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I'm pretty sure that in San Diego the Navy still sponsors a "visit ship" at the cruise ship terminal downtown, at least on the weekends.

If it's that tough to visit a ship elsewhere, that's a crying shame. When I was on sea duty on an FFG in Newport, RI, I really enjoyed giving tours when we were the duty ship on weekends. And everybody who visited had a good time. We even opened up the CIC if we could sanitize it.

I know that back in my Navy days (well before 2001), in both San Diego and Newport, if you wanted to bring a firearm on the base and it wasn't for an official reason (such as a shooting qualification), it wasn't going to happen.

On my shore tour at one of the small bases in San Diego, I stood duty as part of the master at arms force. Every so often, we'd do a random inspection of vehicles, looking for contraband. Usually it was booze (the base was dry), but I'd say that one out of a hundred cars had a handgun in it. And this in a county where you couldn't get a CCW permit if your life depended on it. The accused usually lost a stripe, some money and a little free time. And, as far as I know, he lost the gun, too.
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Old September 1, 2011, 05:26 PM   #12
chris in va
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See if a local gun store will hang onto it for you until you leave. Or as suggested just leave it in the hotel room, in a safe if they have one.
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Old September 1, 2011, 05:55 PM   #13
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Anyone with a DoD ID card- active, reserve or retired- is allowed on base and to use base services (some of which you have to pay for) including a firing range. Transport of weapons to and from the firing range is the servicemember's responsibility, and base/state/local laws usually apply. Concealed carry is ILLEGAL on every base I have ever been to- and that's quite a few. Note, there are exceptions, like the MCMWTC in California, but that's the 'rule of thumb.'
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Old September 1, 2011, 07:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
If it's that tough to visit a ship elsewhere, that's a crying shame.
My visit was at Mayport, Florida.

I think the negative treatment and armed security at my side when I visited the ship in question had to do with the fact that at the time of my specially arranged visit, the ship was not open to the regular public--> I had to make special arrangements and get a buddy of mine to pull some strings for me (he is an officer in the Navy.) My visit also coincided with a week in which everyone was in higher alert due to threats of terrorist attacks, hence the tense atmosphere.

But it was worth the hassle and armed escort, since I got to stand in the ship's combat room, next to highly classified equipment that the sailors were not allowed to talk to me about. Understandably, I was not allowed to take any pictures...not that I wanted any, since as a Citizen the last thing I would want to do is to compromise national security.

But definitely the difference between now and pre-9/11 is amazing. Before 9/11 I remember being allowed to take pictures inside of warships (except for areas with classified equipment,) and it was definitely a lot easier to tour any ship. All I had to do was drive into the base, and as long as a ship was not getting ready to deploy, I could walk inside and have a guided tour free from any hassles.
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Old September 1, 2011, 11:16 PM   #15
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When you visit a military base you automatically give consent for your vehicle to be searched. I would never bring a gun to a military base without first calling ahead to find out what the policy is and talking to someone in person. The guy at the gate is going to turn you around probably.

If I was in charge of vehicle inspections at a gate and they called me and told me my mother and grandma were at the gate they would get searched. Just too much stuff going on in the world these days to be lax. I work in a military facility and when I answer the door I ask for ID and a purpose and who they are there to see. They also have to log in and out. They also get escorted to the office if they are not military personnel.
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Old September 2, 2011, 12:20 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eghad
The guy at the gate is going to turn you around probably.
I would guess he's going to let you have a chat with the MPs. At the MP station. In cuffs. At least, that is what has happened before in similar circumstances on the posts I have been stationed at for the last 15 years.
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Old September 2, 2011, 12:31 AM   #17
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As much as I hate to say it. Your probably better off leaving it home for this trip. To take the gun on base it has to first be registered with the provost marshals office. By first be registered, that means you have to go there without the gun. The guards at the gate will not and are not allowed to secure it for you.
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Old September 2, 2011, 12:57 AM   #18
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That too...
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Old September 2, 2011, 12:59 AM   #19
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If you get lucky enough to get a tour of the flight line on a USAF air base dont cross any red lines on the flight line to take a shortcut!
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Old September 2, 2011, 02:13 AM   #20
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I am arranging for a nearby Gun Shop to hold the gun (for a quick clean and lube) while I am on the base. That seems to be the easiest way to comply with the law and still carry my gun from Houston to San Antonio.
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Old September 2, 2011, 02:30 AM   #21
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Elegant solution!

Short answer to the question is that it's up to the Base Commander.

Which means, of course, NO.

Shortly after taking a civilian job on a local AFB I found that the Security Force's Shirt (1st Sergeant) was a personal friend and I asked him about the issue (specifically for employees).

He said, "Sure, I can get you a permit from the Wing Commander." He called me back about an hour later with an apology and a, "No way".

So, sometimes, the people in the know don't know .

Enjoy San Antonio!

Best,

Will
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Old September 2, 2011, 08:19 AM   #22
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American Eagle, you might have included those minor details (ship not normally open to public; heightened threat condition) in your first post.

Otherwise, ever hear of such things as SeaFair in Seattle, Fleet Week in NYC, or Tall Ships in Newport, RI? Navy ships are available for tours at those events, and others.

I haven't been to Mayport in a while, but they used to assign a duty schedule for ship tours, IIRC. So, a given ship would have a guide available on that ship's turn.

Meanwhile, the general public has no trouble visiting the museums at Eglin and Pensacola, etc.

The sky is not falling.

For the OP, good solution to the problem. Some bases allow visitors to bring firearms, specifically for use at firing ranges, but those bases are the minority and procedures tend to be strict.
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Old September 2, 2011, 10:01 AM   #23
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After 9/11, we had to visit a base and were told you had to walk on the paths marked with yellow cord or tape. Wander off them and you faced the armed teams.

Some poor sucker walked out of the wrong door in a building for a smoke and faced down the barrels of M-16s - or so he claimed.

We were told even with permits, guns were NO-NO.
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Old September 2, 2011, 10:17 AM   #24
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Quote:
Some poor sucker walked out of the wrong door in a building for a smoke and faced down the barrels of M-16s - or so he claimed.
They mean it when they say "Designated Smoking Area" only
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Old September 2, 2011, 07:40 PM   #25
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I was on an Air Force base for a refresher course in loading aircraft. There was a snack bar right across from the C 141 we were loading stuff on. One of the aircrew decided to make a dash for the snack bar. Next thing out of nowhere a vehicle with flashing lights pulled up the SP had him in the front leaning rest with a loaded M16 pointed at him. I saw him grab the charging handle and pull it back.

The flightline we were on also had F-15s and A-10s....we were told to not go wandering off. I saw why.
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