March 01, 2023
The Suicide Prevention and Response Independent Review Committee (SPRIRC) was set up to do exactly what its name suggests, which is to find ways to prevent suicide within the U.S. Military. Suicide is a major problem for our armed forces, and credit where credit is due, the SPRIRC actually has some great points and plans that could help prevent suicide among veterans. They actually worked with active-duty soldiers and veterans to find effective goals and procedures to prevent suicide. They have great suggestions such as removing unnecessary bureaucracy and red tape for mental health services, increase resources for suicide prevention and substance abuse issues, improve housing conditions and a whole lot more.
Like most government programs, it starts with the best intentions. There are good people working toward solving an actual problem. However, also like most government programs and institutions, there are those who manipulate the good intentions for personal, tyrannical agendas, which is exactly what we see within the SPRIRC report. Buried withing many good suggestions is an anti-gun agenda that rivals the worst policies of California and Illinois. Here are just a few within the recommendations list, which are in sections 5.14 through 5.24 of the SPRIRC report.
- On DoD property, raise the minimum age for purchasing firearms and ammunition to 25 years.
- Implement a seven-day waiting period for any firearm purchased on DoD property.
- Develop a national database for recording serial numbers of firearms purchased on DoD property.
- Implement a four-day waiting period for ammunition purchases on DoD property to follow purchases and receipt of firearms purchased on DoD property.
- Establish command notification procedures when a service member or family member who lives on DoD property purchases a firearm on DoD property.
- Require anyone living on DoD property in military housing to register all privately-owned firearms with the installation’s arming authority and to securely store all privately-owned firearms in a locked safe or with another locking device.
- Establish DoD policy restricting the possession and storage of privately owned firearms in military barracks and dormitories.
- Prohibit the possession of privately owned firearms that are not related to the performance of official duties on DoD property by anyone who does not live on DoD property.
The SPRIRC report also has an easy-to-read priority rating from 1 (low) to 3 (high) on its recommendations. If you haven’t guessed already, the above recommendations, which are verbatim from the report, are listed as at least 2 and mostly level 3. There is a lot to process within this list, such as how exactly does a national registry help prevent suicide?
It’s already well established that policies like these have absolutely no effect on preventing suicides, and to suggest they do is insulting to those we trust with our national defense. Japan has always been an example of how not having access to firearms does not prevent suicide. Also, carrying and using a firearm is a fundamental task within military service; at some point, they will have access to firearms, regardless of how many anti-gun policies are implemented. Joining the military does not automatically mean your fundament, constitutional rights are waived.
Speaking of these pesky rights we have, which they always seem to forget about, there is a strong, hidden message when you read between the lines of the SPRIRC report. The Second Amendment seems to be completely ignored because there is an underlining tone of “soldiers have to follow orders.” In fact, we’ve already seen this concept in play when U.S. Military personal were ordered to get the Covid vaccine. It didn’t get much media attention, but many refused the vaccine, and they were forced to leave the service. It sparked quite a bit of debate on where constitutional rights end within military service, but a tone has now been set.
Road to Civilian Implementation
The DOD hasn’t implemented these anti-gun policies yet, but we know they don’t have much of an issue enforcing policies that violate constitutional rights. It’s frightening enough to think the military might be forced to endure such draconian anti-gun policies, but it’s no stretch to think where they go next. If we see these policies enacted successfully over a several-year period, rest assured it will become the new model for civilian anti-gun legislation based on the concept that it “works” in the military. It would be challenging for active service personnel to resist policies like these. In a worse-case scenario where all these policies are enacted, it’s more than likely the anti-gun groups will have plenty of time to show they “work” before they can be fought in court.
I do recognize that there is a history of restricting access to personal firearms for soldiers in uniform and in barracks, but it doesn’t stem from anti-gun sentiments, and there has certainly never been a policy on age restrictions, gun registrations and ridiculous waiting periods. These are blatant anti-gun policies with a long-term goal of mass-disarmament. It’s frustrating that necessary suicide prevention is being hijacked by anti-gun attempts. I applaud the SPRIRC report’s recommendations that could help prevent the massive suicide problem within our military, but dismantling the Second Amendment won’t help.
About the Author
Jack Oller is a U.S. Army veteran, having served in the Military Police with one deployment to the Camp VI Detention Facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He has extensive firearms training from military and civilian schools and is a passoniate shotgun shooter and hunter. Jack has an English degree from Illinois State University, and he started his career in the outdoor industry as Associate Editor for Guns & Ammo magazine. After Gun & Ammo, he worked as Brand Manager for Crimson Trace and now is the Digital Editor for Firearms News.
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