By Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely | Peterson-Schriever Garrison Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — While owning a firearm is a right to American citizens, it’s important to practice proper firearm storage and safety while on any military installation.
Failing to follow proper firearm safety can result in a negligent discharge, which occurs when a weapon fires without intention. A negligent discharge can result in serious bodily injury or death, said Tech. Sgt. Brian Litney, 50th Security Forces Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of combat arms.
“There are rules and regulations when having a privately-owned weapon on a military installation,” he said. “The weapon has to be registered through pass and registration. Once it’s registered you can bring it on base after receiving approval from your commander. It must be stored properly – in a safe, locked or out of reach.”
According to the University of California, Davis Health, there were 39,740 firearm deaths in the U.S. in 2018.
“We really want to enforce and stress weapon safety because most accidents that happen [can be] prevented if we follow the proper safety rules,” Litney said.
Airmen who live in the dormitories must register their weapon with the 21st Security Forces Squadron and store it in the base armory. Airmen can check out the firearm when they intend to use it, but must check it back in afterward. Under no circumstances can a firearm be kept in the dormitories.
To ensure the safety of the base populace, the Schriever violence prevention office provides free gun locks to Airmen. Locks can be obtained from any first sergeant on the base.
“The safety and welfare of our fellow Airmen and space professionals is paramount whether you are active duty, civilian or a veteran,” said Master Sgt. Don Wright, Delta 6 and 50th Space Communications Squadron first sergeant. “We are handing out the gun locks to promote firearm safety.”
Litney offered the following tips for firearm owners:
• Clear and secure the weapons system when not in use.
• Keep the firearm out of reach of those who don’t need access.
• Always treat the firearm as if it’s loaded.
• Practice good muzzle discipline and understand where it’s pointed.
Litney said failing to follow proper firearm safety and failing to register a weapon on base is a serious offense. Punishment can vary and is determined by the garrison commander and the SFS commander.
“Weapons systems are a tool, not a toy,” he said. “People have lost their lives [for] being negligent with weapons systems. We just hope everyone understands the consequences of not properly handling your weapon.”
For more information about firearm safety, call combat arms at 567-5929.