Republican U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert revoked his amendment to allow servicemembers to possess loaded firearms at military installations as his colleagues began to voice their opposition to the motion on Tuesday.
Gohmert, a Texas Republican, rescinded the change on the same day the House Rules Committee planned to vote on the possibility of adding it to the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, the annual defense bill. House members will not vote on the defeated bill, but will continue considerations for the overall defense authorization act until the end of this week.
Gohmert, one of President Barack Obama’s biggest critics, filed the amendment last week to authorize members of the armed forces to carry guns at military posts, even after several tragedies recently affected various American army posts.
Current law restricts servicemembers from possessing weapons at military posts, under most circumstances. The issue of arming soldiers has failed to gain much support, including from military leaders. Americans for Responsible Solutions posted messages to social media platforms and sent text messages to nearly 30,000 of its followers requesting they call their representatives and encourage opposition to the amendment, Mark Prentice, a spokesperson for the organization, told msnbc.
“Congress should not be tying military commanders’ hands and undercutting over two decades of bipartisan policy. Instead, we must remain focused on preventing dangerous people from getting their hands on guns,” Cpt. Mark Kelly said in a statement on Tuesday. Kelly co-founded Americans for Responsible Solutions with his wife, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, after she was shot outside of an Arizona supermarket in 2011.
Americans last month renewed the debate on allowing guns at military bases after a shooting at Fort Hood in Texas claimed the lives of three people and wounded 16 more. The event was the second shooting at the base since 2009. Republicans have argued that allowing guns at military posts could prevent future mass shootings, while Democrats continue to push for more gun-control restrictions to reduce potential harmful situations.
“Too often, our active duty soldiers have become targets for attackers with guns,” Arkadi Gerney, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, said Wednesday in a statement. “We ought to be listening to our military commanders on how to make soldiers safer, not trying to score political points by offering ideological amendments with no hearings or debate.”