After the shooting of a teenager in a Fort Lee Family Housing neighborhood over the weekend, senior leaders here are stressing the importance of responsible gun ownership and registration of any privately owned firearm brought onto the installation.
The incident occurred at a housing area bus stop on Sunday when a 15-year-old girl was struck in the pelvic region by a bullet from a gun in the possession of a male teen, also 15. The victim was transported in stable condition to the VCU Medical Center in Richmond. The boy was taken into temporary custody by the military police. Neither teen is being identified due to their age. The Army Criminal Investigation Division is looking into the incident.
Fire and Emergency Services Deputy Director Tony DeWitt pointed out that Fort Lee Regulation 190-2 provides very specific guidance for mandatory registration and safe weapon storage on the installation.
“One particular passage reads, ‘Firearms, ammunition and authorized war trophies stored in on-post quarters will be kept unloaded and secured within an appropriate container (such as) a locking cabinet or safe,” DeWitt said. “Gun ownership is an enormous responsibility because of the potential for serious injury or accidental shooting deaths among individuals, especially minors, handling weapons without the knowledge or training to do so.”
There’s also a risk of theft even on an Army installation, he noted. The regulation prohibits the storage of weapons in privately owned vehicles. If licensed gun-owners are heading for a shooting range or hunting area, they are not permitted to make any stops en-route. Weapons will be transported in the trunk or “encased in a container other than the glove compartment” if the first method is unavailable. Commercially available trigger locks and other security devices are strongly recommended to deter and prevent loss and theft.
“Individuals residing in the barracks or the IHG (Holiday Inn Express) lodging facility are not permitted to have firearms in their rooms,” DeWitt said while highlighting another passage in the regulation. “In those instances, the military or civilian community member must make arrangements with their assigned organization to have the firearm stored in a unit arms room.”
Other key points of the regulation stressed by the director include the following:
· All privately owned weapons brought on the installation must be registered within 96 hours.
· Individuals except for law enforcement officers are prohibited from concealing a weapon on their person or in a vehicle while on Fort Lee.
· Weapons including rifles, handguns, shotguns, BB guns, pellet guns, paintball guns, slingshots and bows will not be discharged on the installation except at designated locations during specific times. Contact Outdoor Recreation at 804-765-2212 for range opportunities.
· No person under the age of 21 may register, own, buy or sell a handgun on the installation.
· If a privately owned weapon is lost or stolen, it will be reported to the Provost Marshal Office immediately (804-734-3400). Those who find or come into possession of a firearm that isn’t licensed to them will similarly notify the PMO.
Weapons registration requirements and the rules outlined in Fort Lee Regulation 190-2 apply to everyone, including civilian employees and visitors, on the installation. All of the information and required forms can be found at home.army.mil/lee/index.php/my-fort-lee/all-services/weapon-registration.