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U.S. Rep. Perry backs bill to arm military bases


York County's Republican congressman has introduced legislation that would overturn a ban on military personnel carrying weapons on federal bases.

Rep. Scott Perry, who represents all of York County, is calling it the Military Bases Self-Defense Act.

"Unfortunately, we now live in a world where the troops who volunteered to protect our fellow citizens in dangerous places abroad are at increasing risk from violent extremism when they return home," Perry said, according to a news release. "Our military installations are repeatedly targeted, and current Department of Defense policy leaves these tireless servants unable to protect themselves."

Perry's announcement specifically cites the July 16 shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where four Marines and a sailor were killed at a Navy Reserve Center. Police killed the alleged shooter.

However, Perry's proposal would not affect firearm policies at recruitment centers like the one in Tennessee.

Off-base: The weapons policies at nonbase facilities are different, Perry spokesman Ryan Nawrocki said.

But, as Nawrocki pointed out, military bases also have been the target of shootings.

He cited the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood that killed 13 people and wounded more than 30 others.

The shooter in that case, Maj. Nidal Hasan, was sentenced to death.

Perry's legislation would specifically repeal Department of Defense regulations that date back to the 1990s.

"Members of the armed forces are at risk, simply sometimes just by putting on their uniforms and showing up at work," Nawrocki said. "We think that if there's anyone that's able to responsibly handle this, it's obviously these individuals who've received the best military training in the world."

Perry's legislation is awaiting consideration by the House Judiciary and Armed Services committees.