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Fort Hood service members who refuse to show identification to law enforcement officers can face action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, according to a policy issued by the 1st Cavalry Division commander Sept. 5.
Texas state law requires people to identify themselves to police only if they are legally arrested. But the Fort Hood policy requires soldiers to show their ID to law enforcement whenever they are asked to do so by authorities.
“Soldiers are prohibited from refusing to present a driver’s license or military identification card to any law enforcement officer in the exercise of his or her official duties, upon request by the law enforcement officer,” the memo issued by Maj. Gen. Anthony Ierardi reads.
The policy comes after recent incidents in which soldiers openly carrying long guns were asked by police to show identification and they refused.
“The purpose of this policy is to assist law enforcement personnel in determining whether a service member constitutes a threat to the public safety, without confrontation, in order to protect service members and civilians from avoidable accidents or incidents that could result in death or serious injury,” the memo states.
Although open carry of handguns in Texas is banned, it is legal to openly carry long guns, such as rifles, carbines or shotguns.
The memo cites as the basis for the Fort Hood policy “a growing trend of soldiers assigned to Fort Hood openly carrying firearms in private business establishments in the greater local area in an attempt to publicly assert their Second Amendment right.”
Asking for ID is a way to deter soldiers from exercising their legal right to carry their weapons, said Robert Sneed, a spokesman with Open Carry Texas, which is protesting the new policy.
“The policy change effectively forces active-duty personnel to provide identification under any and all circumstances,” Sneed said. Soldiers who openly carry are being profiled by police, who ask for their ID and then call the soldier’s command, he said.
In one incident, an officer at Fort Hood was questioned for openly carrying his long gun and initially refused to show his ID, but eventually gave in, Sneed said. Although the officer was never arrested nor faced charges, police called his command, and he is facing a letter of reprimand for conduct unbecoming an officer, Sneed said.