Changes to gun rules on Fort Gordon start in March

Fort Gordon is changing its weapons policy. (WRDW-TV)
Fort Gordon is changing its weapons policy. (WRDW-TV)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Soon it's going to take more than a registration form to bring guns on Fort Gordon.

"The change in policy is that we're vetting the person not the weapon," said Lt. Col. Hollis L. Bush Jr.

Bush is the Provost Marshal on Fort Gordon, and as he explained, the previous policy only required civilians to register their weapons.

Starting in March, the new policy requires a federal background check for everyone, military and civilian.

If you have a felony or a misdemeanor in domestic violence, you're out of luck.

"There are certain laws that we have to abide by on Fort Gordon, and if we vet the individual, that means that we are allowing the right folks to bring that weapon onto Fort Gordon and the wrong folks not to," Bush said.

Donald Randolph works as a range assistant at the Sportsman's Complex on post. He's happy about the change in policy.

"If you clear the background, you have a pretty good gist that you're a pretty straightforward person, so it makes you feel a little safer out here," Randolph said.

It's closed today, but on a sunny day as many as 80 people come shoot at Fort Gordon's gun range.

Ed Batey comes about three times a week. He's already prepared for the policy change.

"This authorizes me to come on Fort Gordon and bring my weapon," said Batey, as he showed News 12 Form 9243.

Once Form 9243 is filled out, the feds do a background check.

Batey says following the new policy should be simple.

"If the law says that you have to have a background check to come on here, then that's what you're gonna have to have. If you don't want a background check, don't go to Fort Gordon," he said.

Bush says no one has complained about the change, and out of the hundreds of requests so far, he's only had to disapprove one.

He also noted this change has nothing to do with the Sandy Hook shooting or the national gun debate.

The policy was signed by Gen. Patterson in October of last year, but it won't take effect until March, so people have time to fill out the form and get approved.

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