Army leaders tout new firearm storage facility

By Scott Prater, Fort Carson Public Affairs OfficeSeptember 2, 2022

Army leaders tout new firearm storage facility
FORT CARSON, Colo. — Maj. Gen. David M. Hodne, center, commanding general, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, Col. Sean M. Brown, right, commander, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Carson and Command Sgt. Maj. Adam Nash, senior enlisted leader, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson, officially open a new firearm storage facility for Soldiers at Cheyenne Mountain Shooting Complex during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Aug. 29, 2022. (Photo Credit: Scott Prater) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT CARSON, Colo. — On first appearance, Cheyenne Mountain Shooting Complex’s newest addition resembles an extra-wide shipping container, but the heavy steel walls, floors and ceiling will help Soldiers store their personally owned weapons in a safe and secure setting.

Fort Carson Army leaders joined CMSC staff Aug. 29, 2022, to officially open the new firearm storage facility during a ribbon-cutting ceremony just west of the complex’s main office building.

Maj. Gen. David M. Hodne, commanding general, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, provided the ceremony’s keynote speech and explained the significance of opening the facility in proximity to the Mountain Post.

“This (opening) is really important,” he said. “This is about readiness and about access to lethal means. 70% of suicides across the Department of Defense, and 71% in our Army in the last fiscal year, were tied to firearms. There is a myth that suicide is often well thought out, planned in advance, and what we’ve realized is that it’s often an impulsive act. If weapons were immediately accessible to a Soldier who is in an emotional state when they are considering taking their lives, then we can reduce their access to lethal means and help with the challenge of suicide in our ranks.”

Construction crews began work on the firearm storage facility back in March 2022 in coordination with the Directorate of Emergency Services and the Directorate of Public Works.

“Crews had to expand our concrete pad, install fencing and add a concrete walkway to our office to accommodate the new magazine,” said Pedro Viorato, CMSC program manager.

Fort Carson Soldiers are not permitted to store their privately owned weapons in barracks rooms or vehicles, so they typically store them in their unit’s armory. Weapons violations can reduce unit readiness and lead to disciplinary action that may prevent Soldiers from being deployable.

“Weapons have been discovered through routine health and welfare inspections in (on-post) barracks rooms,” Hodne said. “And, Soldiers have come through the gate where weapons were discovered in their vehicles. Either way, it’s important that we provide resources to allow us to address that issue.”

While unit armories provide proper and secure storage methods for personally owned weapons, their hours of operation and required administrative tasks make them less than convenient for Soldiers who want to practice or shoot recreationally.

“This weapons magazine will be open and available for use during our normal business hours,” said Viorato. “All a user needs to do is check in with us in the office, then walk back to the magazine to retrieve their weapon out of their assigned locker. Our operating hours are typically longer than unit armories and Soldiers don’t have to gain approval from their unit leadership to access this magazine at CMSC. The facility contains lockers of varying size to accommodate both handguns and rifles. For a small fee, users then secure them with a padlock, like any locker.”

In a statement provided by the Army Resilience Directorate (ARD), Army leaders said, “Safely storing medications and firearms can be a lifesaving measure by mitigating sudden suicidal ideations.”

According to the Department of Defense Annual Suicide Report, use of a firearm occurred in more than 64% of active-duty service member suicides, while more than 75% of reservists and more than 79% of National Guard suicides involved the use of a firearm.

An American Public Health Association report concluded that storing firearms and ammunition safely reduces the risk of suicide by 55 to 73%.

“Safely storing firearms and minimizing substances that heighten impulsiveness, such as alcohol, can drastically change a suicide outcome,” the ARD statement said.

This new storage facility is actually the third to be added at CMSC. Viorato said the previous two were added earlier to accommodate the range’s civilian and local law enforcement users.

The 400-acre public shooting complex opened in 2013 as Fort Carson partnered with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the U.S. Forest Service, El Paso County and local construction companies to complete the initial project. With the addition of two trap-and-skeet ranges completed in 2018 and a 3D archery range finished in 2021, the complex includes 10 separate ranges for pistol, rifle and archery.

The site sits on Army land near Interstate 25 just outside Gate 20 and is open to the public. Shooters using the range do not have to enter Fort Carson. It is one of the only shooting complexes in the Army that is partnered with the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, plus a county. All profits generated through operations go back to Fort Carson.

The new facility opened Wednesday. For the first 30 days, Soldiers have priority and, if space is available, other eligible users will have access to the storage. CMSC staff plan to open the service and storage facility to all active-duty Soldiers and other eligible users in the coming months.

For more information about the storage facility or other services, contact CMSC at or call 719-896-6196.