By Sergeant Major David K. Devaney USMC Retired

17 July 2015; the day after four U.S. Marines were murdered and could not defend themselves because of laws; laws that should be changed.

Note: I wrote this paper for the Sergeant Major of the Marines Corp’s annual symposium in 2010. I then continued to submit it in 2011, 2012, and 2013. No one wanted to listen to me then; how about now? This is unedited and as it was four years ago.

H.R. 218, which is “The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004”, allows current and retired law enforcement officer to carry concealed weapons from state to state. I believe qualified U. S. military personnel should also be allowed to carry concealed nationwide; to include government and military installations.

In most police departments a citizen may enter the police academy at the age of 20 years old and he or she receives 12 to 14 weeks of training (18 weeks for the FBI). Denver police recruits receive 88 of firearms training during their academy, which includes marksmanship, tactics, and decisional shooting and teamwork; therefore it is not all live fire training. On 22 July 2004 President George W. Bush signed into Law H.R. 218, which is the “The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004;” also the “National Concealed Carry for Cops.”   This new law allows law enforcement officers to carry their weapons while off duty between states. “…an individual who is a qualified law enforcement officer and who is carrying the identification required by subsection (d) may carry a concealed firearm that has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce, subject to subsection (b).” This law applies to persons who meet the definition of a Qualified Law Enforcement Officer. Law enforcement officers must “(4) meets standards, if any, established by the agency which requires the employee to regularly qualify in the use of a firearm.” Officers are required to carry identification issued by their agency. Retired officers who maintain their annual qualification are also authorized to carry concealed; with an appropriate identification card.

In comparison all Marine Corps recruits are immersed in marksmanship for two straight weeks (officers receive three weeks). Tactics and team work exercises are not counted in the amount of hour’s marksmanship training they receive. Annually, all Marines are also required to re-qualify with their service weapon. According to U. S. Navy Regulation 1159, “Personnel may not have any weapon or explosive in their possession without proper authority.” I absolutely agree with this regulation, but would like to emphasize, “proper authority.” To me “proper authority” means authorized; as in authorized to carry a concealed weapon in this case. I am not saying military personnel ‘have the right to carry concealed weapons; I am saying we (those that are deemed qualified) should not be deprived of the right to carry concealed weapons.” Per U. S. C. 921-929, Federal Firearm Laws, persons are not allowed to carry firearms in Federal Facilities unless (Federal Court Facilities excluded): the possession of a firearm or other dangerous weapon by a Federal official or a member of the Armed Forces if such possession is authorized by law.

According to Barbara Starr (Star, 2010, July 5) the General Accounting Office (GAO) warns of “significant weaknesses” and “numerous potential vulnerabilities” at U.S. military bases to a possible terrorist attack. Starr found multiple “real life breaches” that I will mention: (1) devices for making military IDs were stolen from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Phony military identification cards could give terrorists and criminals wide access to all military bases; (2) Police arrested an individual for theft of C-4 plastic explosives, antipersonnel land mines, silenced machine guns and night vision devices from the Navy SEAL base in San Diego, Calif.; and (3) A man disguised as an Air Force officer penetrated Fort Meade, Maryland outside Washington D.C. He stole rifles, pistols and 12,000 rounds of ammunition. Starr states, “While there may be no security measure that could ultimately thwart a determined terrorist, military bases have been under orders to beef up security ever since the bombings of the Air Force barracks at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia 1996; the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa and the Oct. 12, 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen.”

In addition to the attacks above, most of us remember, that in August of 2005 four men running an Islamic prison gang were arrested after allegedly attempting to enter Los Angeles military bases, synagogues and other places. In May of 2007 six men were arrested after attempting an attack on Fort Dix. Their plan included attacking and killing soldiers using assault rifles and grenades. In May of 2009, four men were arrested in New York after a plot was revealed to blow up two synagogues and shoot down a U.S. Military Aircraft. Then in November of 2009, there was the infamous Fort Hood shooting. In the course of the shooting, a single gunman (a soldier – Major Hasan) killed 13 people and wounded 29 others. Many U. S. military bases are too big to be secured by a small police force, leaving its occupants vulnerable to attack. The reality is our bases are soft targets. In an attack, we could not get to our armories and ammunition supply points to deploy in a timely manner.

In conclusion, I recommend authorized military members should be included in H.R. 218 or a similar H.R; therefore permitting authorized personnel to carry concealed weapons anywhere within the United States, to include military installations (excluding Federal Court Facilities).

A possible definition of authorized personnel could be: Military personnel authorized to carry concealed weapons nationwide, to include military installations, must have met the following prerequisites:

Annual qualification with their weapon to be carried (through DOD, NRA, DHS).

Posses a state concealed carry license.


Phares, W. (2005). Future jihad: terrorist strategies against America. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Starr, B. (2010, July 5). U.S. Military Security Flaws Exposed. ABC News. Retrieved May 19, 2011, from

 Think about that…………


By David Devaney

David K. Devaney SgtMaj USMC Retired 2009 City of Hit Iraq with PTTDavid was born in Geneva New York and graduated from Geneva High School in 1980. He joined the Marine Corps on a guaranteed Infantry contract in April of 1983. After graduating boot camp he was stationed in Hawaii with 3rdBattalion 3rd Marines (3/3). While assigned to 3/3 he held billets as a rifleman, fire team leader, and squad leader. During 1986 Corporal (Cpl) Devaney was selected as a member of Surveillance and Target Acquisition (STA) Platoon, 3rd Battalion 3rd Marine. Upon graduation of Scout Sniper School he was assigned to the Scout Sniper Section of 3/3 STA Platoon. During his second deployment as a Scout Sniper with 3/3 he was promoted to Sergeant (Sgt). After a tour on the drill field from 1989-1991 Sgt Devaney returned to STA 3/3 were he deployed two more times. During 1994 Sgt Devaney was selected to the rank of Staff Sergeant (SSgt) and ordered to III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF), Special Operation Training Group (SOTG); while at SOTG SSgt Devaney was assigned as a Reconnaissance and Surveillance (R&S) and Urban Sniper Instructor and Chief Instructor. At the time III MEF SOTG Instructors were members of Joint Task Force 510 (JTF 510 CT); a Counter Terrorism Task Force. In 1998 he deployed to Operation Desert Fox with Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 2/4 and was attached to Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) 572/594 as a sniper. SSgt Devaney deployed again, during 2000, with ODA 135/136/132 to Malaysia as member of JTF 510, working with the Malaysian National Police. After leaving SOTG Gunnery Sergeant (GySgt) Devaney was assigned to Company A 1st Battalion 7th Marine, and spent much of his time training the Scout Snipers of 1/7. Just before the invasion of Iraq, in 2003, he was selected to the rank of First Sergeant (1stSgt) and led 270 Marines, sailors, and soldiers during combat – receiving a Bronze Star Medal for destroying the enemy and their will to fight. During 2004 1st Sgt Devaney was ordered to duty as the Inspector Instructor Staff 1st Sgt for 2nd Beach and Terminal Operations Company, Savannah, Georgia. During 2007 he was selected to the rank of Sergeant Major (SgtMaj) and received orders to Electronic Warfare Squadron 4 (VMAQ-4) stationed at Cherry Point, NC. There he trained a CADRE which in turn trained a massive Quick Reaction Force in combat operations. After two more deployments to Iraq SgtMaj Devaney received orders to Weapons Training Battalion, Quantico, VA. SgtMaj Devaney retired from the Marine Corps on 31 December 20013. He now works as an adjunct combat instructor at the “Crucible’’ in Fredericksburg, VA. David is also on the Board of Directors of the Marine Corps Scout Sniper Association. David’s published work: Books Devaney, D.K. (2007). Surviving combat: Mentally and physically (3rd edition). 29 Palms, CA: USMC. Devaney, D.K. (2015). They Were Heroes: A Sergeant Major’s Tribute to Combat Marines of Iraq and Afghanistan. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. Articles Devaney, D.K. (2011) Enough Talk of Suicide, Already! Proceedings Magazine. Devaney, D.K. (2011) Can PTSD Be Prevented Through Education? Proceedings Magazine. Devaney, D.K. (2012) PTSD Is Not Cancer. The Marine Corps Gazette. Devaney, D.K. (2012) Women in Combat Arms Units. The Marine Corps Gazette.

17 thoughts on “Nationwide Concealed Carry for Qualified Military Personnel”
  1. Agree with SgtMaj Devaney. There are plenty of troops fully qualified to carry on or off duty. I don’t believe this is the issue nor do I believe regulations are going to change. The thought processes obstructing such a common sense decision need to explored, exposed and addressed to change a situation which condemns our armed forces to be unarmed on the largest gun free zones in the country. Bottom line, there are no reasons anyone can intelligently refute allowing troops (even a small “uber” qualified bunch) to carry a pistol concealed and/or when on duty.

    There is a pool of outstandingly trained individuals. Objections based on fear of immaturity and poor decision making rest on weak grounds. We do send these people overseas to fight our wars! We can further refine this group of individuals though to mid-senior grade NCO’s or higher. Personally, I don’t have a problem with one of my privates carrying. If I had to worry, they didn’t need to be in the service. Even these highly select criteria won’t be enough though though. Why?

    First the military risk aversion and response to these type of situations is dysfunctional. A soldier is wounded, every soldier has to wear every piece of body armor available. Fear of a negligent discharge is addressed by taking ammo away from ALL the troops vs. increasing training and dealing with the slow learners.

    Second, is the out of control PC. We have a military more concerned with not offending than force protection or preserving what used to be an absolute, the right of the service member to self defense. It is easier for the powers to be to send casualty assistance officers to the next of kin than allow service members the ability to protect themselves.

    Without requiring senior leaders to specifically state what their objections are we’ll never fix this problem. Today Gen Ordierno alluded to worse consequences if we allowed troops to be armed. This was a fear tactic. Someone should have asked him to specifically state those potential consequences. I bet they would have been ridiculous or a gross underestimations of our military. The politically correct path is the path to power. Just look at who is making the decisions and why…

    1. As a former Vietnam combat Marine I believe that the time as come to have every able body Vet sign up for homeland security this well trained force is ready and willing to once again answer the call of our country.
      It is time to protect our country from all enemy foreign or domestic.

  2. What source do you have on those Marines that “could not defend themselves”? GySgt Sullivan rounded up SSgt Wyatt, Sgt Holmquist, and Lcpl Wells and used personal firearms and defended the reserve center while letting the remaining personnel escape out the back over a fence. They died heros. Every marine is part of my extended family, but Mike battery was part of my immediate family. Get your facts in check before you make some bullshit article

    1. Na – according to the Washington Post only two individuals were armed, a Marine and the Navy CO with privately owned weapons (they weren’t authorized to have om base) . An unnamed Marine engaged the terrorist outside the building before he entered. The rest of the Marines went out the back, helped others and bravely tried to distract the shooter. What weapons did GySgt Sullivan, SSgt Wyatt, Sgt Holmquist, and Lcpl Wells use? They didn’t have any or are you upset that the author appropriately describes unarmed troops fighting an armed threat as being unable to defend themselves.

      Getting facts straight might be something you want to look at before slinging the BS moniker.

  3. Dear Internet Sniper, I attempted to email the address attached to the comment (twice); it does not exist – I will respond anyway.

    The first sentence of my article obviously bothered you.

    I wrote: “17 July 2015; the day after four U.S. Marines were murdered and could not defend themselves because of laws; laws that should be changed.”

    The fact is, it is a violation of the UCMJ to have a personal weapon with you in uniform. You asked my source, great question? Every news source in the world; I cannot find any source to back up your narrative. If you find said source, please produce it; and I hope you are right.

    You called the article BS.

    The article actually had nothing to do with those four Marines (and now one sailor). The article was about the FACT that a ridiculous law handicaps US military personnel and takes away their 2nd Amendment rights – when they may be most vulnerable – in uniform.

    Please use a proper email address in the future. I would love to speak with you on this. I live in Virginia; we can even meet up to talk this over.

    One last thing, I do not appreciate your “BS” comment; please do not use profanity on this forum and keep your comments professional.

    SF DKD

    1. pointless. all federal concealed carry permits are nationwide, hence the word federal. what they need is international carry permits. anyone can take a concealed carry course and obtain a permit as long as they pass a criminal background check. even ex convicts can go to court and have their records expunged prior to applying for said courses.i have one. i carry a .38 everywhere i go. my federal permit is respected by law enforcement in every state i travel to. Florida, Ohio, Oklahoma, Mississippi,new York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Michigan, even took it to the Bahamas without anyone ever saying i was not allowed to carry it. you sir are openly displaying your ignorance.

      1. Ignorance is a lack of knowledge. I was ignorant about the federal concealed carry license. BUT, that has nothing to do with this article. If your method is the way, then why did the police not go this route?

  4. Sergeant Major, I’ll be be brief. Carving out an exception for the military is counter productive. Until ALL citizens are free to fully exercise their 2nd Amendment rights we have failed to fully comply with our oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States…

    Todd Tolson
    Command Master Chief
    USN Retired

    1. The military is a primary target. Shouldn’t their vulnerability, one aggravated by regulations limiting their 2A rights be addressed first?

      When arming Navy ships don’t we arm those most likely to be engaged by the enemy first?

      I support the 2A. By getting the military their 2A rights which are restricted unlike most Americans we strengthen the 2A. We also force the enemy to look for other targets that are not as soft. That provides us an opportunity to promote the 2a again.

      This is not counter productive.

  5. David,

    As a U.S. Marine veteran I would like to include veterans in this letter. As several radical terrorist organizations have called out to target and kill the families of U.S. Military personnel and Veterans. My unique situation as me living in Canada just across the border from Detroit. While its less than two miles from the border of Michigan I cannot carry concealed in Michigan once so ever. I have an Arizona Non-resident license, which allows me to carry in something like 30 states, however I cross the border to work everyday and Michigan only allows resident permits. As I am not a state resident there is no way I can carry there. This puts me at risk in area known for crime let alone rumored terrorist training camps. This is not entirely about me as know many other U.S. veterans that currently reside in Canada and overseas and they do not have the ability to get a permit from any state, but Arizona (I believe). Those of us who serve and have served should be able to protect themselves with the utmost vigilance. I have friends who are recruiters and they are ignoring the no gun in uniform bullsh*t. Even here my AR-15 is ready to go in about 30 seconds if I need it. While I may not be afforded many rights to protect myself in this Canada (no concealed carry, it is illegal to own a firearm for self defense) I will ignore that if my family is in harms way and I hope active military does too.

    1. Sir,

      You are right, all former military members could be within this, but I wrote this while still on active duty four years ago. At the time I was only worried about my guys. I should have thought on a broader scope.

      SF DKD

  6. On base, yes. But uniformed military personnel walking around ARMED among the civilian population? That is exactly why we have a 2nd Amendment in the first place. Doesn’t anyone study history anymore? This idea would have horrified the Founding Fathers.

    How about a compromise: Soldiers can be armed among the civilians ONLY where civilians can be armed exactly like the soldiers.

    Our own government is the greatest threat. Don’t think so? Ask around at Kent State.

    1. Mickey,

      This article is not suggesting we send troops in the streets with machineguns. This is about the fact that military members are not allowed to carry their own weapons to and from work; their own weapons. Military members and civilians are among you right now “armed” you just do not notice; most are concealed. Other people may be talking about arming service members with service weapons; I am NOT.

      SF DKD

  7. In My Opinion, Our Law Enforcement System, knows that we are out gunned! In My Opinion, Concealed Carry Licensed personnel, Should Be Considered For A Possible Rendering Of Their Services, during a National Emergency! With Respect; Mr. Derace D. Owens.

  8. Good Morning,

    I’m interested if this issue has made any headway in getting resolved or denied. As a Michigan CPL holder, and with some expansion of reciprocity, is it still being pursued? I don’t think I’ll be carrying across the Detroit River into Ontario, Canada anytime soon, but road travel occasionally takes me through Maryland and DC. I like to stay within regulation at all times, save the test cases for those who love to give their life’s treasure to lawyers.

    So, Veterans expanded ability to carry, in the works, a path forward, or just a myth?

    SFC John P
    Army (Retired)

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