No, Bill Clinton Did Not Ban Guns on Military Bases

No, Bill Clinton Did Not Ban Guns on Military Bases July 20, 2015

Since the shooting at a military base in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the right wing media has been ablaze with pundits repeating ad nauseum that Bill Clinton issued an executive order prohibiting military personnel from carrying guns on military bases. That is apparently a lie.

It’s wrong on all three claims, actually. It wasn’t an executive order, it was a DoD directive. And it wasn’t issued under Clinton, it was issued under Bush 41, 8 months before Clinton was elected and nearly a year before he took office.

This Directive is effective immediately. Forward one copy of implementing documents to the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence) and the Inspector General, Department of Defense within 120 days. [Department of Defense,2/25/92]

It also doesn’t ban the carrying of guns on military bases:

What’s more, that directive–signed by Donald J. Atwood, George H. W. Bush’s deputy secretary of defense — was by no means a “ban” on firearms at military installations. It explicitly authorizes DOD personnel “to carry firearms while engaged in law enforcement or security duties, protecting personnel, vital Government assets, or guarding prisoners,” and simply aims to “limit and control the carrying of firearms by DoD military and civilian personnel. The authorization to carry firearms shall be issued only to qualified personnel when there is a reasonable expectation that life or DoD assets will be jeopardized if firearms are not carried. Evaluation of the necessity to carry a firearm shall be made considering this expectation weighed against the possible consequences of accidental or indiscriminate use of firearms.” [The New Republic, 9/17/13]

Strike three, you’re out.


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