NORFOLK (NNS) -- The Navy announced a policy change regarding personal firearms to consolidate and clarify the requirements for those who own these weapons.
The NAVADMIN detailing the new policy is available at http://www.persnet.navy.mil/NR/rdonlyres/BCB24012-BC52-4E88-B20F-A509B1C744B7/0/NAV10196.txt. The change to OPNAVINST 5530.14E came after a review of existing policy indicated that there were inconsistencies in the way personal firearm regulations were enacted across the fleet, according to Rear Adm. Arthur J. Johnson, Commander, Naval Safety Center.
However, he emphasized that the policy change should not make life more difficult for those who choose to own weapons.
"This policy is more of a clarification than a change," said Johnson. "It's not meant to make owning a personal firearm more restrictive for Sailors. Instead, it aligns policy across the enterprise so Sailors know what's expected of them if they do own a firearm."
One highlight of the new policy is the ability for all Sailors to store their personal firearms in base housing or armories (when space is available), so long as they receive prior written approval from the installation commanding officer. Weapons must be stored in a locked container, a locked gun rack, or secured with approved trigger locks to keep the weapon from firing.
Weapons are still prohibited in other on-base locations, such as bachelor enlisted or bachelor officer quarters, work centers, and vehicles.
The policy also clarifies that Sailors must comply with all federal, state, and local laws, and that concealed weapons are never allowed on Navy installations, regardless of local law.
While the policy change co-locates and clarifies firearms policy, Johnson said there's one thing that hasn't changed.
"The decision to own a personal firearm carries with it personal responsibility," said Johnson. "If you do own a weapon, you must understand the basic rules of gun safety and make sure you follow those rules at all times."
The primary rules of gun safety are: Treat every weapon as if it were loaded; never point a weapon at anything you don't intend to shoot; and, keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to fire.
Johnson adds two other rules that are important to remember.
"Keep weapons out of untrained or underage hands, and remember that guns and alcohol don't mix," he said.
For more news from Naval Safety Center, visit www.navy.mil/local/nsc/.