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Old January 13, 2012, 01:33 PM   #1
Don H
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Firearms on military property

My Google-fu appears to be a bit weak this morning.

Could someone please cite the federal law that prohibits civilians from possessing firearms on military bases, posts, facilities and reservations without permission from the authority in charge? Thanks!
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Old January 13, 2012, 01:38 PM   #2
Tombstonejim
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For the most part each seperate installation commander makes the rules for his installation.

Civilians carry weapons to fro from Ft Huachuca all the time. They can shoot at the post skeet/trap range and at the plinking range.

Most Army installations work the same way. Weapons are supposed to be registered with the Provost Office and they give you a certified print out that they are registered and if questioned at the gate you just show the print out.

No big deal.

Civilians are also allowed to hunt on Fort land.

I doubt there is any Federal law. Would be under Army, Air Force, Navy, whatever regulations.
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Old January 13, 2012, 01:59 PM   #3
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i often shoot and hunt on Ft. Sill, OK. Carry of concealed weapons on US Army bases, except by LEOs, is forbidden. Any gun brought onto the base must be registered. Registration is in a Pentagon database.

Troops who live in barracks keep their guns in the unit armory. Married personnel living on base keep guns in their quarters.
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Old January 13, 2012, 03:29 PM   #4
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Old January 13, 2012, 07:30 PM   #5
hermannr
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Don, you find no law, because it does not exist. The instalation command controls what happens and it is completely up to the command.
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Old January 13, 2012, 08:43 PM   #6
thallub
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This is the regulation that governs private weapons on Ft. Sill OK. Ft. Sill Reg 190-1. See page 28:

http://sill-www.army.mil/dhr/Admin_S..._Reg_190-1.pdf
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Old January 13, 2012, 09:08 PM   #7
Don H
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Thanks for the information!

It seems to me that with no federal statute prohibiting a civilian from bringing a firearm on base, there would be no penalty for the civilian if he were to do so, unless, of course, a federal trespassing statute is violated. It's possible that a state statute may be violated by such an action but that would vary widely from state to state. Since a civilian is not subject to the UCMJ, violation of this base regulation has no legal penalty, it appears.

By the way, I have no intention of doing this. I'm just exploring the issue for my own edification. If anyone has any commentary to add, I would appreciate your thoughts on the subject.

The link posted by thallub (Thank you!) contains the following passage:
Quote:
The provisions of this regulation apply to all military personnel, units,
organizations, activities, facilities, and offices, which are assigned, attached, or
otherwise supported by Fort Sill. This regulation also applies to all persons living,
working, traveling, or otherwise located upon Fort Sill. Violations of this regulation by
military personnel may subject offenders to disciplinary action under the Uniform Code
of Military Justice and/or administrative action as deemed appropriate by the
commander. However, this regulation is not intended to preclude possible prosecution
of military personnel for violations of state or federal laws or other regulations, when
applicable. Any violation of this regulation by family members, civilian employees, or
other civilians while on this installation may subject the offender to administrative action
and/or criminal prosecution under applicable state and federal laws and regulations.
These actions may include, but are not limited to, loss of privileges and debarment from
post. These provisions do not apply to law enforcement personnel while in the
execution of their duties.
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Old January 14, 2012, 09:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
It seems to me that with no federal statute prohibiting a civilian from bringing a firearm on base, there would be no penalty for the civilian if he were to do so, unless, of course, a federal trespassing statute is violated.
The governing publication for the Army is AR 190-11. See page 22, Para 4-5.

There have been cases of folks carrying concealed on Army bases. Military folks are sometimes court-martialed and civilians almost always see the federal magistrate. It's a felony thing.

Last edited by thallub; January 14, 2012 at 10:34 AM.
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Old January 14, 2012, 12:34 PM   #9
Don H
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Thanks for the reference, thallub! What I'm trying to discover is, if it's a "felony thing" for a civilian to bring an unauthorized firearm on base, what federal statute or CFR applies that makes it a felony. It's my understanding (and I may be wildly off-base here) that such a regulation promulgated by a base commander, or even by the service branch itself, has no force of law for a civilian, that a civilian violating such a regulation at most would be escorted off the base and possibly (likely?) prohibited from returning.

I'm just trying to nail down the applicable code section under which the person would be charged.
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Old January 14, 2012, 03:31 PM   #10
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Civilians who are caught carrying concealed handguns on base get a quick trip to the federal magistrate. The magistrate will set hearing date.

You can't legally carry a concealed handgun onto an Army base for the same reason you can't legally carry a concealed handgun into a federal court house or post office. Guns are forbidden in the VA hospital parking lot in OK City.

The law governing the carry of a weapon on federal property is Title 18, Chapter 44, § 930 of the US Code.
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Old January 14, 2012, 04:26 PM   #11
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I have yet to hear of a single case of a military court marital for the sole crime of carrying concealed on post. Still it is not allowed on any post anywhere and the punishment is usually pretty bad (letter of reprimand or Article 15 or both).
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Old January 14, 2012, 04:42 PM   #12
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Well, 18 USC 930 doesn't cover it either. It refers to "Possession of firearms and dangerous weapons in Federal facilities" and defines a federal facility as:

Quote:
The term “Federal facility” means a building or part thereof owned or leased by the Federal Government, where Federal employees are regularly present for the purpose of performing their official duties.
This seems to clearly limit itself to structures and only some structures at that. Unless the unauthorized firearm is carried into a building on the base, this statute wouldn't apply. If the firearm is in a vehicle in a parking lot or the person carrying the firearm doesn't go inside a building, it doesn't appear that this would be a valid statute with which to charge a person.

As for the VA hospital, there's a section in the CFR's that deal with weapons on VA property:
Quote:
38 C.F.R. § 1.218
Weapons and explosives. No person while on property shall carry firearms, other dangerous or deadly weapons, or explosives, either openly or concealed, except for official purposes.
39 CFR 232.1 has a similar prohibition for firearms on Post Office property, such as a parking lot) although 18 USC 930 covers the building(s):
Quote:
39 CFR 232.1 (k)(1)
Weapons and explosives. Notwithstanding the provisions of any
other law, rule or regulation, no person while on postal property may
carry firearms, other dangerous or deadly weapons, or explosives, either
openly or concealed, or store the same on postal property, except for
official purposes.
I cannot find anything similar that covers unauthorized firearms on military property exclusive of buildings.
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Old January 14, 2012, 04:49 PM   #13
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In reading through section 930 of the Federal code,

http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/18C44.txt (note: Section 930 is way down at the bottom) there is this glaring exception:

Quote:
Sec. 930. Possession of firearms and dangerous weapons in Federal
facilities

-STATUTE-
(a) Except as provided in subsection (d), whoever knowingly
possesses or causes to be present a firearm or other dangerous
weapon in a Federal facility (other than a Federal court facility),
or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned
not more than 1 year, or both.
Quote:
(d) Subsection (a) shall not apply to -
Quote:
(3) the lawful carrying of firearms or other dangerous weapons
in a Federal facility incident to hunting or other lawful
purposes.
So I am kind of curious as to how cases of civilians going before a Federal magistrate were adjudicated.

I could keep quoting, but it would take all day. Check the link and see for yourself. But, the way this reads, for regular federal facilities, and for federal courts (subsection e),

Quote:
no person shall be convicted of an offense under
subsection (a) or (e) with respect to a Federal facility if such
notice is not so posted at such facility, unless such person had
actual notice of subsection (a) or (e), as the case may be.
So, notice is required, either via signage or verifiable notification.

Even then, it appears that regular federal facilities (everything other than courts) are not supposed to restrict possession of weapons for "other lawful purposes."

I'm no lawyer, but it seems the government would fight an ultimately losing battle on this type of case; OTOH, I certainly don't wish to be the test case, and lose my shirt on legal costs, appeals, etc.
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Old January 14, 2012, 05:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
So, notice is required, either via signage or verifiable notification.
Yep, thats the reason they have those big no concealed handguns signs at the entrance to military bases. The gates at Ft. Sill have been moved back. You see the sign before you get to the gate.
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Old January 14, 2012, 05:21 PM   #15
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thallub, I understand that.

However, if you actually read Section 930, it says that for general federal facilities, the rules are not intended to infringe on possession for hunting or other lawful purposes.

Licensed concealed carry for personal protection is generally found to be a lawful purpose, so, the way this section reads, even if there are signs, they are not allowed to infringe on lawful purposes, outside the buildings.

I'm curious to see if anybody can point to any actual appellate level case law on this.

Edit: I also understand this has been a major bone of contention at VA facilities, but I don't know of any cases that have actually gone forward, just threats by VA security to press charges.

Again, does anybody know of any appellate case law?
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Old January 14, 2012, 06:57 PM   #16
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This airman's BCD was upheld by the military appeals court. He was caught with a concealed weapon and some dope.

afcca.law.af.mil/content/afcca_opinions/cp/gonzalez...
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Old January 14, 2012, 07:26 PM   #17
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thallub, that airman was subject to UCMJ, which is entirely different.
(Edit: Most likely convicted of failure to comply with a lawful order, or similar.)
(Second edit: And some dope? As in possession of firearm during commission of a felony - which having drugs on base would be? This is waaaaaay off point, thallub.)

What case law exists for a civilian, not subject to UCMJ? (Specifically, a civilian with CCW, and section 930.)
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Old January 14, 2012, 07:51 PM   #18
thallub
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Google:


http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/script...th/034119.html
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Old January 14, 2012, 08:08 PM   #19
MLeake
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thallub, in the case you linked, the defendant was NOT convicted of a federal offense, he was convicted of a state level felony for breaking Utah law about firearms in posted prohibited areas.

Still off point, with regard to non-UCMJ civilians, CCW, and 930...
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Old January 14, 2012, 08:34 PM   #20
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Parker was convicted under the federal Assimilative Crimes Act of a violation of Utah code 76-10-505. However, Utah code 53-5-704 states:
Quote:
(c) The provisions of Subsections 76-10-504(1) and (2), and Section 76-10-505 do not apply to a person issued a permit under Subsection (1)(a).
If Parker, the person in thallub's link, had a CCW permit, then the law would not have been applicable because he would then be an "authorized person". Indeed, if the firearm had been unloaded he would not have been in violation of 76-10-505.

This conviction seems to confirm that there is no applicable federal law to charge a civilian with a crime for possessing a firearm on a military base, otherwise it seems logical that he would have been charged with a federal crime rather than being convicted in a federal court of a federal charge of violating a state law.

If Parker had a CCW permit or if the handgun had been unloaded and UCA 76-10-505 then was not applicable, of what crime would he then have been charged?
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Old January 14, 2012, 09:09 PM   #21
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Don H, thanks for the clarification on assimilation.
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Old January 15, 2012, 11:04 AM   #22
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Quote:
It's possible that a state statute may be violated by such an action but that would vary widely from state to state. Since a civilian is not subject to the UCMJ, violation of this base regulation has no legal penalty, it appears.
A military base is federal property, so I do not know how this would work out. If the civilian was carrying a weapon (Gun) which was legal in the state, but was not allowed when they entered the base.... Interesting.

I have contacted some of my friends who still work as Civilian Security/Law Enforcement on different bases and asked them if they could point out specific cases.

When I hear back, I will let you know.

When I was on active duty, I was involved in an incident on base with a civilian friend. I eventually received a letter of counseling and my friend received a Magistrates ticket.
When we went to court, my friend was told he could face up to one year in a federal prison if convicted. Charges where dismissed.
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Old January 15, 2012, 12:25 PM   #23
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Here is one of the responses I received. I edited it in order to hide my friends identity, but I do not think it changes the content.

Here at ( XXXXXXX), we have been charging civilians for carrying firearms onto a federal reservation. At the request of the magistrate, given Georgia's near lack of gun laws, we do make an effort to turn civilians around at the gates if they have weapons in the car. Military personnel are usually charged with Article 92. (Failure to Obey an Order or Regulation)

However, if we catch civilians on post with a loaded (outside the hunting and range areas), we charge them and they go to federal court. We use the charge: WEAPONS VIOLATIONS, CONCEALED WEAPON (GA CODE 16-11-126) (ON POST). There is also a charge in Title 18 of the U.S. Code regarding concealed weapons on federal reservations. (I was surprised to read they use a state code to charge people on a federal installation)

To date, we have never lost a case. The usual outcome is usually around $500 fine and probation. I have not seen anyone sent to jail, yet. Georgia has some very loose gun laws, that are fixing to get even looser. I often remind folks, when they say "I have a concealed permit", "Your permit is good for Georgia and Georgia stops at the post boundary.

We do allow weapons to be brought on post by civilians under the following conditions: 1) The weapon must be declared at the gate. 2) The weapon must be unloaded. 3) The ammo and the weapon have to be in different compartments, ie., trunk and passenger area. 4) The owner has to travel directly to the range or hunting areas with no stops along the way. Upon leaving post they travel directly from those areas to the gates.

The best advice I can give anyone is to go to the LE Desk and get a copy of the base regulation. They will usually give people a copy.

There are 15 military bases in Georgia. I am not sure they all use the same procedures. But it is something to think about if you decide to bring a weapon on base. http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/gamil.htm
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Last edited by Uncle Buck; January 15, 2012 at 12:31 PM.
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Old January 15, 2012, 01:17 PM   #24
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Uncle Buck, thanks for the information. Could you possibly ask your source if he recalls exactly which statute in Title 18 people were successfully charged with and whether the people charged were in structures or merely on the military reservation (for example, watching an air show and never entering a building)?
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Old January 16, 2012, 09:18 AM   #25
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"The charge would be under 18 USC 930, Possession of Firearms and Danagerous Weapons in Federal Facilities (which includes military bases). The weapon can be on one's person or in their vehicle. There is no requirement for them to have entered a structure to substatiate the charge. I've pulled plenty of weapons out of vehicles and charged the owner. I've gotten a conviction everytime and our magistrate is an old country Georgia judge, by no means a liberal. A person can be given up to 1 year in prison, but I have yet to see anyone sent to jail. The magistrate just fines the XXXX out of them. State open and concealed carry laws have no basis on federal property."

This is the reply I rec'd.
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