22:06 GMT01 December 2020
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    International service members aligned with the US Navy and US Marine Corps (USMC) will soon be restricted from purchasing and carrying personal weapons on US bases following the 2019 killing of three people by a Saudi airman at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida.

    Foreign troops training with members of the Navy and USMC on bases in the US or its territories will be prohibited from the possession, use, transport and storage of privately owned firearms and ammunition under a new set of regulations imposed by the services.

    “IMS [international military students] are authorized use of government furnished firearms and ammunition when specifically required for official training off of a DON [Department of Navy] installation but under the control of the DON, and aboard DON installations or property,” noted an unclassified message from Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly on January 20.

    According to Military.com, international service members at Navy and USMC bases have until April 15 and May 1, respectively, to sign agreements on the new regulations, or their Pentagon-sponsored A-2 visas or related travel orders will be revoked. Foreign troops’ family members over the age of 18 will also be required to sign.

    "Failure to do so will result in immediate expulsion from training or school, and orders generated for immediate transfer back to their home country, to include accompanying family members," the USMC notice to troops read, according to the outlet.

    The unclassified Navy release explained that these changes come as a direct response to the December 6, 2019, mass shooting carried out by Royal Saudi Air Force Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani at the Pensacola base. It was later determined that the shooter had been able to subvert gun laws, which prohibit a foreigner with a non-immigrant visa from buying a firearm, by acquiring a hunting license. He was then able to legally purchase the murder weapon - a semiautomatic handgun with an extended magazine.

    Sputnik reported in December that the FBI had issued a report on May 22, 2019, which specifically warned businesses that “extremists and other criminal actors” could attempt to buy firearms with a “valid hunting license or permit.”

    Just days before Modly’s announcement, US Attorney General William Barr asserted to members of the US Department of Justice that the Alshamrani’s shooting was “an act of terrorism” that “was motivated by jihadist ideology.”

    While the service is moving to ban private firearms and ammunition for foreign troops on US bases, the USMC announced last month that approximately 3,200 military police officers would now be eligible to bring their own privately owned weapons onto the bases, reported the New York Times. Like the previously mentioned policy changes, this new rule came about as a response to the Pensacola mass shooting.


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