FORT HOOD — Soldiers could face new requirements for owning personal firearms in the wake of a report on the 2014 post shooting that left four dead.

The report, released Friday, makes a number of recommendations about so-called privately owned weapons based on the findings of an investigation into the shooting by 34-year-old Spc. Ivan A. Lopez.

On April 2, Lopez opened fire on his fellow soldiers, killing three and wounding 16 before taking his own life.

In the aftermath of Lopez’s rampage, investigators discovered the .45-caliber handgun he used was purchased at Guns Galore, an off-post retailer. Before purchasing that weapon, Lopez bought a similar model firearm at an AAFES on-post store. He later reported that gun stolen to the Killeen Police Department.

The April shooting is far from the only deadly incident at Fort Hood to involve a weapon purchased privately off-post. Nidal M. Hasan also used a weapon purchased from Gun Galore in the Nov. 5, 2009, Fort Hood shooting that killed 13 people and injured more than 30 others.

Four months before Lopez’s rampage, Army spouse Rouhad Ahamd Ezzeddine used a weapon and ammo purchased at Action Pawn #1 on Fort Hood Street to kill his two young daughters, and then himself, in their on-post home in January 2014.

In all three cases, the weapons purchased off post were not registered when they were brought onto Fort Hood.

Meet majority of requirements

According to Friday’s report, Fort Hood meets the majority of Army requirements for privately owned weapons. Currently, all service members and their dependents living, residing or staying temporarily on-post must register any personal firearms kept on the installation with the Directorate of Emergency Services. Registration requirements do not apply to soldiers or their families if they live off-post.

“Commanders are limited in collecting a soldier’s (privately owned weapons) information if the soldier resides or stores (the weapon) off the installation,” the report states. “This impacts a commander’s ability to maintain situational awareness over a service member and their actions involving a firearm that could be concealed and brought onto the installation for unauthorized purposes.”

The report stated there were about 9,800 weapons on post, though it noted the registration system is not always updated when a soldier or family member with a personal firearm leaves post.

The report recommends broad changes to the National Defense Authorization Act that would require commanders to collect information about soldiers’ privately owned firearms, and require them to register the weapons regardless of residence.

Changes at Fort Hood

That change, however, would require legislative action.

Friday’s report also recommended changes to the personal weapons policy at Fort Hood specifically. The installation was not completely in compliance with an Army policy that mandates all soldiers and family members obtain the approval of a unit commander to register a private weapon. Instead, soldiers with the rank of sergeant first class and above are exempt from getting approval before registering a personal weapon.

The report recommended the local regulation be changed to get rid of the exemption, though it also notes this policy did not have an effect on the April 2 shooting. In fact, the report concluded there were no “clear warning signs” Lopez was going to commit a mass shooting.

Other recommendations included developing a de-registration policy for private weapons, and creating policy and guidance for purchasing firearms on post.

On Friday, Fort Hood spokesman Col. Christopher Garver said the installation was working with Army in assessing recommendations in all the areas covered by the report.

“The Army’s investigation report release Jan. 23 included several recommendations,” Garver said. “The Army, including Fort Hood, are currently in the process of evaluating and implementing those recommendations.”

Contact Chris McGuinness at chrism@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

(5) comments

Bill of Harker Heights

Ft Hood (or any other military installation) will never solve the problem of these "random" shooters until the military leadership decides to recognize the right of individuals to protect themselves. Soldiers and citizens should be permitted to carry firearms for their own protection on military installations. Or the military needs to begin a 100% inspection regime at every gate and begin armed patrols of all public and work locations on Ft Hood.

Roysalazar

Classic example in how far left the military has moved in the last 6 years.

Dr Strangelove

Bubba is SPOT ON! It’s not about registering guns!

The people that suggests these recommendations are smoking pot! CHL holders should be allowed to carry on Post; it’s more dangerous on Post that it is in Killeen. I use the Dental Clinic on Post and I’m in fear because some whack job going to come in and shoot the place up; while I’m sitting there like a sheep!

Do they honestly believe someone bent on shooting people is going to give a rats butt about registering a firearm?

Bubba

This isn't about firearms registration. Once again, leadership gets focused on the incorrect aspect of this issue.

Soldiers are citizens. They have rights. This includes the right to bear arms. Firearms registries are illegal. Rights are being abused and laws are being violated by some of these policies.

Whether a firearm is registered, or not, is not an accurate indicator as to whom may be a threat to themselves or others with a firearm.

The recurring theme with these incidents is that someone knew, prior to the incident, that the perpetrator was under stress or was a threat to others, and this information was not passed to proper authority to enter this information into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) as required by the United States Code. Only then can retailers prevent ineligible persons from acquiring firearms, as they have been declared mentally defective as required by law.

Procedures must be implemented to identify potential threats and restrict that person's access to firearms, by linking mental health treatment and law enforcement. Mental health professionals must be more forthcoming in reporting potential threats and law enforcement must take such reports seriously, and respond accordingly.

Someone in this Soldier's unit knew he was under stress. The incidents in the Soldier's life prior to the violent outburst indicate significant stress was being placed on this individual. He was under evaluation for PTSD, had sought help for depression, anxiety, and was on some form of unknown medication. This person should not have had access to firearms.

The report issued indicates that the chain of command is not to blame and no signals were missed. Really?

Stop focusing your after action reports on the inanimate object you seek to regulate to no useful purpose, giving the appearance that you're "doing something". Stop issuing reports exonerating those who should have known.

Get focused on the problem, and fix your broken mental health treatment system. Fix the communication systems between the medical community and commanders, who, generally, are not doctors. Give commanders the authority to intervene in the lives of Soldiers in crisis, and separate them from the ability to harm themselves and others. Restore the role of the noncommissioned officer, whose role it is to know their Soldiers and lead them while preserving their well being.

coywatch1

^agree 100%!! If an individual is not mentally stable and even if they are ineligible to legally buy a firearm they will, in fact, use something else, knife, sword, pitch fork, etc. if they truly wish to do harm to others or themselves. Changing the regulation to try an fix this issue is like trying to put a band-aid on wound that requires a tourniquet. Firearms and weapons are not the problem, mental instability is.

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