Wednesday's shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, has revived calls to eliminate the ban on servicemen and women carrying firearms on U.S. military bases.
Ret. Staff Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford, who was shot seven times by Nidal Hasan in a 2009 attack at the same military base, supports eliminating that restriction
"I support that 100 percent. I do," Lunsford told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
Lunsford said that with terrorists ready to strike on home soil, soldiers need to be ready to strike back. He also said there is simply a deterrent factor to a potential attacker that comes with knowing the would-be victims are armed. Lunsford still thinks he would have been shot by Hisan if the firearms ban weren't in place, but he or someone else may have had the opportunity to fire back and end the bloodshed sooner.
Still, he agreed with Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno, who testified to Congress Thursday that lessons had been learned and implemented after the 2009 Fort Hood shooting.
"Had we been doing things we were doing in the past, [Wednesday's shooting] might have been a lot worse," Lunsford said. "But luckily, the response time was good and there weren't as many killed and wounded as when the shooting happened with us."
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Lunsford is still upset that President Barack Obama classified the 2009 shooting as an act of workplace violence, instead of a terrorist attack. The differences in how victims and their families are treated by the government are significant, Lunsford said.
"First of all, what it would mean is that a lot of our benefits and our medical retirement and aftermath of the shooting, we would have received the whole gamut," he said. "Now the Purple Heart is the award that most military personnel, they don't want to get it because it involves pain and suffering. However, there's a benefit package behind having a Purple Heart. And that's a token of recognition for you shedding your blood, sweat, tears and sacrifice for our country."
He said the president misled the 2009 victims, and that he should do right by the victims of both Fort Hood shootings and stand by them with the proper amount of support and recognition.
"If I was given the opportunity to speak to the president, this is what I would say to him: 'Mr. President, my Commander-in-Chief, after our shooting, it was stated that we would be taken care of,'" Lunsford said.
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