Amateur Radio Operators - ARRL ARES "weapons policy"

This is a discussion on Amateur Radio Operators - ARRL ARES "weapons policy" within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hey there all my fellow hams on this site. I have a interesting one for you. Being that ARES is an entirely volunteer organization and ...

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Thread: Amateur Radio Operators - ARRL ARES "weapons policy"

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    Member Array W9HDG's Avatar
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    Amateur Radio Operators - ARRL ARES "weapons policy"

    Hey there all my fellow hams on this site. I have a interesting one for you. Being that ARES is an entirely volunteer organization and we could be asked to do anything from provide communications for a hospital or shelter after a disaster, watching a dam for a flood, going door to door doing welfare checks after a tornado, or whatever, what are your views on the ARRL's "no weapons of any kind" policy? We in WI are just now starting this fight because someone was open carrying with a HT and the wife of the sheriff made a bid deal out of "who was the new deputy?

    Below is an e-mail that was just sent out by the ARRL Section Manager for Wisconsin. Personally I can think of a lot of situations where I would want a weapon if nothing else to protect me for wild animals while I am watching a dam, or what have you.

    Ive been reading the threads on the issue of carrying weapons while serving as an ARES member. I will clear up some misconceptions on this issue.

    Wisconsin ARES management does not have any authority to formulate a policy of carrying weapons while supporting ARES. ARES is a registered program of ARRL and, as the parent organization of ARES, it is the ARRL who has declared that weapons have no place in ARES not only in Wisconsin but nationally. I have been in communication with ARRL HQ several times on this issue presenting the what-ifs and the answer is always the same no weapons allowed. Period.

    From Chris Imlay, ARRL General Counsel:

    Greetings, Don. Let me be very, very clear about this. We are not going to talk about choice here, or "rights" or anything else on this issue. There is no place within ARES for weapons of any type. No one in connection with ARES is to carry a weapon on their person at any time they are participating in any ARES activity whatsoever. We are not going to discuss this or negotiate this with anyone at any time. If this is a problem for anyone, then as Dan says they are welcome to withdraw from the ARES program. We do not want anyone participating in ARES while possessing a weapon outside their home or vehicle and if we hear about it the person will be thanked for their services and terminated. This is an ARRL program and weapons are no part of it whatsoever. We can't have any liability on this issue. Please tell your field appointees this.

    73, Chris W3KD

    This policy has the support of all the top management within ARRL, Central Division leaders, Wisconsin Section Manager, and Wisconsin ARES senior leadership. In addition, there has been consultation with Wisconsin Emergency Management.

    Wisconsin ARES will adhere to this ARRL policy and we will discuss, at the April 28 Leadership conference, the impact it has on Wisconsin ARES and the adjustments that need to be made within Wisconsin ARES to continue as one of the best ARES organizations in the country.


    I look forward to your responses....

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    VIP Member Array Thunder71's Avatar
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    Holy crap, I passed this along to some of my amateur radio buddies who carry - thanks!

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    Member Array talkglock's Avatar
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    Like Chris said all they can do is "if we hear about it the person will be thanked for their services and terminated". Since ARES isn't a law enforcement agency I wouldn't really worry about it, what are they going to do? Take your birthday away?

    Only thing I'd be worried about is if you were carrying in a restricted area that that as were your ccw is normally not allowed. Now that could get you in trouble.

    I think my response would be then if I can not carry a weapon - what protection are you going to provide me then?

    Mark
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    Member Array W9HDG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by talkglock View Post
    Only thing I'd be worried about is if you were carrying in a restricted area that that as were your ccw is normally not allowed. Now that could get you in trouble.

    I think my response would be then if I can not carry a weapon - what protection are you going to provide me then?

    Mark
    KB2EHJ
    Those were exactly my thoughts, I have no plans to carry in restricted areas, however if I am doing damage assessment in the middle of no where, or watching a dam to make sure there is no issues due to flooding, I am on my own for both protection and safety.

    The question of how are they going to provide me with protection is a question that I have yet to find an answer too...

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    I've been studying for my tech license, I would have participated in the ARES program once I got my license, but now, with their stated policy, I will def not participate in ARES. Throughout the years Police have called upon HAM Radio Operators to assist in many disasters, etc, I think that maybe today, with this policy, many will no longer participate and assist. For an organization to determine my personal protection needs, or discount the possibility that they may exist in some conditions that are undetermined, and DUE to a liability issue on the part of the org . . well, sometimes the REAL LIABILITY might be relative to not having protection when it's needed. I see the ARRL as a liability in this policy.

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    As a former, AEC, EC, DEC, RACES officer, SEC and assistant SM I agree with the ARRL. NO WEAPONS WHAT SO EVER. Here in KY nearly all major (think Tornado, Flood etc.) emergency response involves the Department of Emergency Management which fall under the direction of the Kentucky Department of Military Affairs. You DO NOT want to find yourself in the state EOC comm. room with a firearm. Especially when the Governor may be in the next room with security staff. YOU DO NOT want to find yourself in a City or County EOC with a firearm either! Here we have the CSEPP program for the 523 tons of nerve gas and blister agents at the Richmond KY Army Depot. A firearm there will likely get you a free trip a Federal Prison and one not of your choosing.

    More often than not law enforcement sees ARES as a pain in the butt. Bringing a firearm into the picture just makes them less interested in working relationship. ARES volunteers are often viewed by LEOs as a "COP want-to-be" This started when ARES people wanted lights, sirens etc. Sadly some ARES groups do have these things.

    ARES is simply a FREE communication resource maned by volunteers for the purpose of serving their fellow man in time of need - WHERE and WHEN their service is beneficial.

    With that being said, I do not mean to sound hi-handed, like an ass, a know-it-all or dictator. In twenty plus years of building ARES programs I have learned what is best not to do and most importantly, know when to back off and keep my to myself. I have written ARES and well as RACES programs for a number of counties in KY, PA, VA and MO. Three things always come up that propagates animosity and is lights, sirens and firearms.

    Thanks for your post, question and giving me the ability to comment.

    Best to you, and 73 N4CQR
    Diddle
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    sgb
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    Start AAROERS - Armed Amateur Radio Operators Emergency Response System and tell ARRL to go pound sand.
    "There is a secret pride in every human heart that revolts at tyranny. You may order and drive an individual, but you cannot make him respect you." William Hazlitt (1778 - 1830)

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    VIP Member Array Thunder71's Avatar
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    I like that idea sgb.

    I can create the website!

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    While the statement was "not going to discuss this or negotiate this" was used I'd ask for one clarification. Does that include law enforcement officers? I know of some LEOs that participate and doubt if they'd see eye to eye with that policy. If they say that LEO is not included then first they have started negotiations and second there is room to discuss legally armed citizens volunteering their services.

    Otherwise, unless there is a law preventing you from carry and it is a volunteer duty I'd gladly accept their "termination" if necessary.
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    Member Array W9HDG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgb View Post
    Start AAROERS - Armed Amateur Radio Operators Emergency Response System and tell ARRL to go pound sand.
    There are a couple of ARES groups/counties that are considering doing just that...could be interesting to say the least.
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    Member Array W9HDG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diddle View Post
    As a former, AEC, EC, DEC, RACES officer, SEC and assistant SM I agree with the ARRL. NO WEAPONS WHAT SO EVER. Here in KY nearly all major (think Tornado, Flood etc.) emergency response involves the Department of Emergency Management which fall under the direction of the Kentucky Department of Military Affairs. You DO NOT want to find yourself in the state EOC comm. room with a firearm. Especially when the Governor may be in the next room with security staff. YOU DO NOT want to find yourself in a City or County EOC with a firearm either! Here we have the CSEPP program for the 523 tons of nerve gas and blister agents at the Richmond KY Army Depot. A firearm there will likely get you a free trip a Federal Prison and one not of your choosing.

    More often than not law enforcement sees ARES as a pain in the butt. Bringing a firearm into the picture just makes them less interested in working relationship. ARES volunteers are often viewed by LEOs as a "COP want-to-be" This started when ARES people wanted lights, sirens etc. Sadly some ARES groups do have these things.

    ARES is simply a FREE communication resource maned by volunteers for the purpose of serving their fellow man in time of need - WHERE and WHEN their service is beneficial.

    With that being said, I do not mean to sound hi-handed, like an ass, a know-it-all or dictator. In twenty plus years of building ARES programs I have learned what is best not to do and most importantly, know when to back off and keep my to myself. I have written ARES and well as RACES programs for a number of counties in KY, PA, VA and MO. Three things always come up that propagates animosity and is lights, sirens and firearms.

    Thanks for your post, question and giving me the ability to comment.

    Best to you, and 73 N4CQR
    I agree with most of your comments actually. If I'm in an EOC, shelter, hospital, then without a doubt I agree. However, I am playing the what-if game, when I say "what-if" where I am not in one of those areas where I am out in the wild so the speak on my own doing whatever it is that is asked of me. Fixing a repeater, putting temporary system on the air, etc., whatever in an ARES capacity.

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    Doesn't sound as though anyone is going to budge, which makes it a very black-and-white decision.
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    I guess "arrogance" and a "know it all" attitude can dictate even to "VOLUNTEERS"....I'm with sgb...+2 on starting the new group and having the arrogant leadership of the old group pounding sand!!! It's totally understandable NOT to be able to carry in restricted areas...It doesn't take a brain giant to go along with no weapons in EOC, Shelter, Hospital, etc, but there should be some leeway otherwise. Oh well....opinions are like "me"...I'm a big one sometimes.
    FTG-05 and Sky Pilot like this.
    Sometimes in life you have to stand your ground. It's a hard lesson to learn and even most adults don't get it, but in the end only I can be responsible for my life. If faced with any type of adversity, only I can overcome it. Waiting for someone else to take responsibility is a long fruitless wait.

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    mkh
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    I've always carried where legal when on ARES assignments and I never knew of this policy. It hasn't been communicated at our level in my county. Add the policy to less and less time for these things and I think I'll just resign. I can always work emergency relays from my home station and I am the only one who makes carry decisions in my shack.

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    Member Array W9HDG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkh View Post
    I can always work emergency relays from my home station and I am the only one who makes carry decisions in my shack.
    My thoughts exactly...
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