U.S. lawmaker urges easing gun rules on bases after Fort Hood shooting

milley fort hood
Lt. Gen. Mark Milley addresses the media during a news conference at the entrance to Fort Hood Army Post in Texas April 2, 2014.
Credit: Reuters

U.S. lawmakers should look at arming commanders and easing restrictions for carrying weapons on military posts in the United States in the wake of a deadly shooting at the Fort Hood base in Texas, a prominent congressman said on Sunday.

The remarks came as the Fort Hood Army base set up a mental health hotline over the weekend for those who carry emotional scars or feel traumatized after suspected gunman Ivan Lopez, 34, who had been undergoing psychiatric evaluation, shot dead three people, wounded 16 and then turned the gun on himself in the second deadly rampage at the post in five years.

“We should be looking at the idea of senior leadership at these bases, give them the ability to carry weapons. They defend us overseas and abroad and defend our freedom abroad,” Rep. Michael McCaul, a Republican from Texas and chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, told Fox News on Sunday.

“So, the idea that they’re defenseless when they come home on our bases, I think Congress should be looking at that and having a discussion with the bases about what will be the best policy,” he added.

The shooting at Fort Hood was the third such incident at a military base in the United States in about six months.

“It requires a review, re-analysis of the force protection policies that we have at our military installations to see how can we better secure them,” McCaul said.

Lopez purchased the weapon used in the shooting, a .45 caliber Smith & Wesson handgun, on March 1 at the same shop near the base where former Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan bought the weapon used in the 2009 rampage at Fort Hood. Hasan shot dead 13 people and wounded 32.

Military officials have defended policies that largely bar private weapons on military posts in the country.

“I believe that we have our military police and others that are armed, and I believe that’s appropriate,” Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday.

 

Heated argument

Military investigators said Lopez illegally smuggled a weapon onto the base. He then got into a heated argument before using the recently purchased pistol in the shooting rampage.

They did not provide a motive for the killing or the details of the arguments. Friends of Lopez told Reuters last week the soldier had been angry at his commanders for only granting a 24-hour leave to attend his mother’s funeral in Puerto Rico last year.

The Army Criminal Investigation Command declined to comment on Sunday about any developments into its probe conducted with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Texas Rangers.

White House aide Dan Pfeiffer said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama would attend a memorial service at Fort Hood on Wednesday.

The new Fort Hood hotline is for those who require “assistance locating behavioral health assistance at Fort Hood or in the surrounding communities.”

It comes after the shooting raised concerns about whether enough is being done to heal the mental scars of those sent into combat areas.

“We have been short of military health professionals in the military just as we are dramatically short throughout the country,” Michael Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

Lopez had been battling depression and anxiety, and was being evaluated to see if he suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, military officials said. He had been deployed to Iraq for four months in 2011 but saw no combat, they added.

In Killeen, the city that houses one of the largest U.S. Army bases in the country, churches were crowded with those offering prayers to the wounded and the three people killed: Army Sgt. Timothy Owens, 37, of Illinois, Staff Sgt. Carlos Lazaney Rodriguez, 38, of Puerto Rico, and Sgt. First Class Daniel Ferguson, 39, of Florida.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…