Military Base Firearm Laws

Laws regarding firearms on military bases are constantly changing.

Military base firearm laws have been confusing and seemingly even contradictory in the past. While there are many rules regarding the use or ownership of firearms on military bases, these rules can also change frequently because of the president’s specific orders as Commander in Chief. In 2010, the rules were changed again when it came to general firearm possession laws on military bases.

Non-Military Personnel

The rules on non-military personnel having firearms on base on clear: They are never allowed. No civilian entering a base is allowed to have a firearm of any kind either on their person or in their vehicle. It doesn’t matter if the person has a permit to carry a concealed weapon in that state; only military personnel are allowed to carry firearms on a military base. There are no exceptions to this rule, and civilians who come onto base with a firearm can end up facing serious jail time.

Private Gun Ownership

Under a 1993 order passed by then-President Bill Clinton, carrying a private firearm on a military base was banned on military bases in the United States. Individuals could privately own firearms if they lived on base, but those firearms could not be carried on the person while on base. This order was revised on Pentagon orders in 2010, and now specifically requires that every private gun brought onto base be registered with the Military Police. The rules also require harsher enforcement of rules forbidding the carrying of private firearms on base.

Military Police

The military police are the only individuals permitted to carry a firearm around base at virtually any time. Whether or not this explicitly includes time off duty is a gray area, according to the rule books, and can be enforced differently from base to base depending on the commanding officer’s personal preferences. MPs are expected to carry firearms at all times when on duty because they need the ability to enforce rules and use force when necessary.