- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 3, 2014

Rep. Michael McCaul said it is too early to “completely” rule out terrorism amid the investigation into Wednesday’s shooting at Fort Hood, but either way, soldiers should be able to protect themselves on base.

“The problem here, and with Fort Hood, the prior Nidal Hasan case, was that they couldn’t defend themselves because they were not allowed to carry weapons,” Mr. McCaul, Texas Republican, said Wednesday on Fox News. “I personally think, if you’re trained for combat, you ought to be able to carry a weapon.”

Officials said Army Specialist Ivan Lopez, 34, opened fire with a weapon he was not authorized to have on base. The killings come five years after Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 at the base in 2009, later saying he was influenced by radical Islamic beliefs.

Mr. McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told a Fox News affiliate in Houston that the incident proves that military bases are “still a target” and “we need to look at how we can harden these military bases, where are military are utterly defenseless to these kind of shootings.”

“The fact that this guy could drive on the base with a .45-caliber pistol and wound 14 and kill four others just shows you that we’re still not where we need to be,” he said, noting Congress will likely look into the issue through oversight hearings.

Fellow Texas Republican Rep. John Carter, whose district includes part of Fort Hood, argued that it’s best to “defer to the Army” in such situations.

“I am a believer in the right to keep and bear arms. And I believe that licensed carriers should be able to carry,” he said Thursday on CNN. “However, I also believe that if you want to exclude them from your home and tell them they need to leave their pistol at home, you can do it. Quite honestly, Fort Hood is the Army’s home. I defer to the Army. They get to make that decision.”

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