Hurlburt Field Reviewing Privately Owned Guns on Base

A CV-22 Osprey and an MH-53 fly over the coastline near Hurlburt Field, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Julianne Showalter)
A CV-22 Osprey and an MH-53 fly over the coastline near Hurlburt Field, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Julianne Showalter)

HURLBURT FIELD -- In response to the mass shootings that have taken place at military installations across the country in recent years, many commentators have called for changes to current policies that prohibit service members from possessing personal firearms on bases.

Currently, Hurlburt personnel are prohibited from having their personal guns with them on base property.

A change to policies regarding guns on base may be on the horizon, however.

According to Col. Tom Palenske, vice commander of the 1st Special Operations Wing, the base has been conducting a comprehensive review of its privately owned firearms policy.

"The installation commander takes the safety of the members on our installation very seriously, and for that reason is currently

in the process of updating his current policy," Palenske said. "The new policy has not yet been finalized, but more information will be made available to base personnel once it has been."

Palenske added that until the review is completed and plans have been coordinated with the Air Force Special Operations Command, the current firearms prohibition will remain in effect.

Hurlburt is not the only base that has reconsidered its ban on privately owned guns on base. In December, officials at Dyess Air Force Base in Texas announced that it would allow authorized personnel who possess a current and valid Texas Concealed Handgun License or a reciprocating state concealed carry license to transport and secure privately owned handguns in privately owned vehicles within the base's legal boundaries.

Officials did not specify when the new policy would be announced, but indicated that the issue is a priority.

"Base leadership will continue to do everything we can to continue to make our facilities as safe as possible," Palenske said.

According to Sara Vidoni, an Eglin Air Force Base spokeswoman, there are no changes planned to that base's current concealed weapons policy, which prohibits most personnel from having personally owned firearms on the installation.

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