By by Reginald Rogers/ParaglideJanuary 8, 2010
In the aftermath of the Nov. 5, 2009, Fort Hood, Texas massacre, in which 13 people were killed and another 30 injured, officials at Fort Bragg are looking to increase awareness of its weapons registration policy.
The policy, which is based on regulatory guidance set forth in XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg Regulation 190-12, applies to all persons, both military and civilian, who enter Fort Bragg or travel on its reservation.
Non-compliant military members are subject to judicial or non-judicial punishment, according to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Their non-compliant civilian counterparts and other government employees may be subject to prosecution in the U.S. Magistrate Court and could possibly be barred from post, referred to civilian authorities or subject to disciplinary and administrative action.
"Under the current regulation, all military or civilian personnel that bring privately-owned firearms onto Fort Bragg are required to register the weapon with the Provost Marshal's Office," explained Fort Bragg's Emergency Services Director George Olavarria.
"This applies regardless of the persons' status (i.e. military, Family member, guest or unaffiliated civilian). Personnel who are traversing the installation without entering through an access control point are not required to register their weapons."
However, although those infrequent travelers are not required to register their weapons on post, they are still subject to being searched, according to signs posted at Fort Bragg's entrances.
Fort Bragg has five locations at which weapons may be registered: the All-American Expressway access control point; in the basement of the Soldier Support Center; at Gavin Hall in the 82nd Airborne Division area; at McKellar's Lodge Hunting and Fishing Center and at the Fort Bragg Clay Target Center.
According to Olavarria, to register a weapon, personnel are required to bring their military ID cards or any other government issued ID, along with the weapon's caliber, type, model number, finish and manufacturer.
"Do not bring the firearm into the registration office," he said.
Olavarria said ammunition, when being transported on post, must be stored separately from the cased and unloaded firearm.
"Ammunition must be stored in a locked container in Family quarters or in the arms room of the unit to which they are or will be assigned or attached to, or otherwise affiliated with," he pointed out.
He added that this applies to Soldiers who reside in the numerous barracks and billeting facilities on post.
"Personnel living or staying in barracks, unaccompanied personnel quarters, transient quarters, guest houses, to include the Landmark Inn and the Fisher House, must store their privately-owned firearms and ammunition in the arms room of the unit to which they are or will be assigned," Olavarria said. "If they have no unit affiliation, they must surrender their weapons to the Fort Bragg Provost Marshal's Office for temporary storage."
A state-issued concealed handgun permit does not allow owners to carry their concealed weapons on Fort Bragg. This is because they are invalid on post.
"Under no circumstance will the transportation of loaded or concealed handguns, shotguns, or rifles be permitted on post, except by duly authorized law enforcement personnel or by military personnel in the performance of their official duties," said Olavarria.
He added that transporting a firearm on post is illegal, unless it is being transported non-stop, from or to a place of storage, a hunting area, firing range, gun or repair shop or a location that is authorized, in writing, by the unit commander.
Olavarria said weapons may also be transported from one off-post location to another off-post location using a public traveled roadway, (this is without stopping within the confines of the installation).
He continued by saying that all weapons must be unloaded and transported in a compartment of the vehicle that is inaccessible to passengers in the vehicle and which is separate from where the weapon is stored.
"If no inaccessible areas exists, the firearm will be unloaded and transported in open view and the ammunition stored separately. A firearm in a closed case is considered in open view if it otherwise complies with the provisions above. In all cases, ammunition will be separate from the firearm," said Olavarria.
The post also has rules that govern firearms used for hunting on Fort Bragg ranges.
It states that firearms used for hunting, as defined in Fort Bragg Regulation 420-11, may be transported in the passenger compartment of a vehicle as long as they are unloaded and cased, and only while the possessor of the firearm(s) is actively engaged in hunting. As an exception, muzzleloaders may be transported with a round in the chamber as long as the firearm's firing cap or priming powder is removed rendering it unable to fire.
Olavarria urged the community not to leave firearms unattended in vehicles.
"Firearms left in an unattended vehicle may be confiscated by law enforcement personnel," he explained.
He also pointed out that information for personally owned weapons that were previously registered at another post, should be updated at one of Fort Bragg's registration centers. He added that owners should also update their information if they sell or dispose of their weapons.
Currently, Fort Bragg does not have a system that will allow weapons to be registered online, but according to Olavarria, one is in development.
Since Dec. 19, the Hunting and Fishing Center has been operating under new hours. Weapon owners may register their weapons from 4 to 7 p.m., Wednesday through Friday, and from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., on Saturday and Sunday.
The center will remain closed Monday and Tuesday.
According to Fort Bragg Wildlife officials, these hours and services are intended only to supplement the principal registration process at existing locations.