Note: I became aware today that the Army has taken the PDF file of Army Regulation 190-14, dated 12 March 1993, off the web — or at least moved it to a location where a search of the new website can’t locate it. Therefore, I have uploaded my file copy of the document I originally downloaded from — referred to in my article below — and replaced the dead link in the text of the article with my new one so that it will continue to be available for reference.
–J. Neil Schulman, March 23, 2010

A Clinton Administration revision to Department of Defense Directive 5210.56 — Army Regulation 190-14, dated 12 March 1993 — permits the Secretary of the Army to authorize military personnel to carry firearms “on a case by case basis” for personal protection within the continental United States, but forbids military personnel to carry their own personal firearms and both requires “a credible and specific threat” before firearms be issued for military personnel to protect themselves. It further directs that firearms “not be issued indiscriminately for that purpose.”

Thus did President Bill Clinton — Commander-in-Chief of the United States Army — apply to American military personnel under his command the same anti-gun policies his administration and a Democratic-controlled Congress applied to American civilians in the Brady Bill and Assault Weapons ban of 1994.

This Clinton policy of restricting military personnel from routinely carrying arms for protection was left in effect for the eight years of the administration of President George W. Bush — even after the 9/11 terror attacks — and even though Republicans held both the White House and majority control of both houses of Congress from January 2003 to January 2007.

John McHugh became the 21st Secretary of the U.S. Army on September 21, 2009, seven weeks prior to U.S. Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Malik Hasan’s November 5, 2009 shooting spree that murdered 13 and wounded another 38. Secretary McHugh — not reported as having the psychic power of precognition — issued no authorization for Fort Hood military personnel to be issued arms for personal protection against the specific threat of attack by Major Hasan.

Veterans Day is this Wednesday. How many times will “thank you for your service” pass the lips of talk-radio gurus who since 9/11 have sported American flag lapel pins, play-listed War-on-Terror country music, and made the Wounded Warrior Project a centerpiece of their swaggering patriotism?

It all rings so hollow now when their punditry following the Fort Hood Massacre makes it clear the bastions of American conservatism hate Jihadis far more than they love G.I.’s.

If George Washington had learned that soldiers under his command had died from a turncoat attack within an American Fort — not because arms weren’t available for his men to defend themselves but because an American officer didn’t trust American soldiers to bear arms — I’m fairly certain that American officer would have been summarily executed by the same firing squad as the turncoat.

Yet radio talkers debate only whether the shooter was driven by ideology or madness, and have no anger — or even questions — about a sixteen-year-old Department of Defense policy that five days ago left both G.I.’s and civilians on an army base in Texas as defenseless as toddlers in a preschool.

Ideology colors emotional responses, and even long-term activists who have worked to advance the right of self-protection have lost their sight-picture in the fog of the War on Terror. The man I’ve often called my Yoda on gun-self-defense issues — Randall N. Herrst, JD, of the Center for the Study of Crime — wrote in a Sunday morning posting to the Individual Sovereignty/Libertarian Yahoo Group his security concerns with Hassan’s anti-Americanism not being acted upon by the Army, President Obama’s not using the term “war on terror,” left-wing media, and civilian police being used to protect a military base post-9/11, but this Lion of the Second Amendment wasn’t even aware of the Department of Defense policy which bans soldiers from routinely carrying arms for protection … much less express seething anger at American soldiers not being trusted to bear arms.

The lack of even a committed Second Amendment activist’s’ concern with the systematic disarmament of American soldiers on base — leaving them defenseless for murder by a single illegally-armed attacker with time to repeatedly reload — bewilders me. The explanation can have nothing to do with Posse Comitatus Act restrictions on the Army being deployed for civilian law enforcement when we’re considering individual soldiers defending their own lives from attack.

Contrast this with libertarian author Brad Linaweaver, who told me he considers American soldiers being armed for protection even more important than the arming of police.

Those directly affected by the vulnerability of American soldiers see the matter even more poignantly.

Brian Singer, an American soldier currently deployed to Iraq but whose home station is Fort Hood, commented on a previous article of mine about the massacre that “It’s not just the military affected by this heinous policy. Our spouses and children suffer under victim disarmament as well. Second, not only are civilian CCWs not recognized, military members are required to register their firearms as well. Can you believe this insanity?”

Chor Xiong, father of 23-year-old Fort Hood Massacre victim Kham Xiong, spoke of his son’s love of hunting, and told KSTP-TV, “The sad part is that he had been taught and been trained to protect and to fight. Yet it’s such a tragedy that he did not have the opportunity to protect himself and the base.”

Where is the shock and outrage for American conservatives to learn that even the Army is made toothless by politically-correct gun control?

Talk radio listeners as angry as I am about the lack of time their favorite talk hosts have spent on the victim disarmament of even American servicemen and women should use this Veterans Day as the opportunity to call in and express their feelings. Arming men and women who take seriously the idea of defending their country from bad guys can be nothing but a gift that keeps on giving.

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