Posse Comitatus Act=restricts confiscation?


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Eightball
December 1, 2008, 02:02 PM
Alright, so I'm reading drudgereport, and come across THIS (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27989275/)article, where the Pentagon wants 20,000 troops to aid in "domestic security," but there's fears that
the new homeland emphasis threatens to strain the military and possibly undermine the Posse Comitatus Act, a 130-year-old federal law restricting the military's role in domestic law enforcement.

What is the Posse Comitatus Act, and would it prohibit, say, Obama (or any other future president) from using the Military to help confiscate civilian owned firearms?

Not wanting to start a "it'll never come to confiscation" thread, just curious about if it came to that, if the above act has any relevance or not; if it doesn't, it seems conspicuous to me that they'd have 20,000 troops just "milling about" soas to help "domestic security," and if a possible confiscation attempt would warrant their use, in a strictly legal sense.

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Sinixstar
December 1, 2008, 02:07 PM
Long story short - Posse Comitatus essentially says that the Military cannot be used for domestic police action.

Yes - that means that the military could not be used to confiscate weapons from Americans. Posse Comitatus was designed specifically to prevent exactly that kind of action from taking place.

The domestic security thing really isn't brand new. It's something that the outgoing administration is taking advantage of for the first time. My understanding is that the provision has been there for a standing domestic force for a long time - and it has simply never been implimented. Now it is.

Sinixstar
December 1, 2008, 02:08 PM
also - here's a quick primer.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posse_Comitatus_Act

Cyborg
December 1, 2008, 02:34 PM
Please note that "Posse Commitatus" allows use of the U.S. Armed Forces in "cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress". They have already - in VERY recent times - amended PC to allow use of Armed Forces in cases of national emergency. There is nothing to stop Congress from granting the president whatever powers to use the Armed Forces in whatever way he/she sees fit. They could even repeal "Posse Commitatus" and "Insurrection" entirely.

I figure it would be easier to bring up Hurricane Katrina and give Barama sweeping new powers than it would be to repeal "PC" and "I" entirely. If they wrote the language properly, they could spin it as something very good for the country. All it would take would be another terrorist attack - Chemical or Biological or even Radiological - and congress would give his Baramaness essentially carte blanc. "Jericho" type scenario? (I loved that show. Always been a fan of Gerald McRaney even if I did hate him for getting to go home to Delta Burke every night)

What I want to know is how/when/where did the Federal Bureau of INVESTIGATION acquire police powers? What is an agency allegedly devoted to investigating crimes doing arresting people? U.S. Marshals, I can see arresting but FB-frelling-I???

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cyborg
Burying your head in the sand only makes your a** a better target.

Sinixstar
December 1, 2008, 02:46 PM
What I don't understand - is why people are looking at this as if it's something new.

Yes - Congress could repeal Posse Comitatus. They could have done it at any time for the past 200+ years as well.

We're talking about hypotheticals that have been there since the birth of this country, and jumping up and down screaming the sky is falling. Why?

Cyborg
December 1, 2008, 02:59 PM
Sinixstar, I hope you are not including me in the " jumping up and down screaming the sky is falling" crowd. I was just remarking on the status of PC. Personally, I have no illusions about what the left will do. I can't find the reference no but I recall reading an "11th Beatitude" that went something like "Blessed is the man who expects the worst for to him life is full of pleasant surprises." I hope for the best but prepare (or try to prepare) for the worst. Problem is I sometimes come wind up being a "Pollyanna" and what actually happens is far worse than even I expected.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cyborg
Burying your head in the sand only makes your a** a better target.

TimRB
December 1, 2008, 03:00 PM
"What is an agency allegedly devoted to investigating crimes doing arresting people?"

Are we supposed to have two agencies? One for doing the investigation and another for making the arrest? Why?

Tim

Zoogster
December 1, 2008, 03:32 PM
Has been changed several times in recent history.

The Patriot Act essentialy made the Posse Comitatus act null and void. Fortunately most of it has expired.

A law was also passed allowing the use of the military to assist in capturing drug traffickers. That was stretched through interpretation to include any situation involving drugs.
So if drugs are involved, or they say drugs were involved and plant some after the fact, any use of the military was legal.
The Waco Siege involved National Guard helicopters which were only given because the agents lied and said a meth lab was involved.

In reality though the Posse Comitatus Act means very little anymore with the militarization of LEO. They now have paramilitary police forces, APCs, Tanks etc possessed by Law Enforcement agencies.
So they do not need to use the "military" because certain branches of LEO, especialy in Federal LEO have become the military.
Instead of deploying regiments in military camo the deploy people similarly armed wearing blue or black.
The recieve certain ROE and proceed to accomplish an objective.

They of course do not use artillery, airstrikes, or indiscriminate force, so there is a difference still at some levels. Well usualy, Philidelphia police did air drop a bomb on some people:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-05-11-philadelphia-bombing_x.htm

The difference between how military soldiers would act when deployed on the streets, and how paramilitary police would impose martial law is really not that different. So a good portion of Posse Comitatus has become meaningless, as the soldiers just wear blue now instead of camo.

Sinixstar
December 1, 2008, 04:00 PM
Sinixstar, I hope you are not including me in the " jumping up and down screaming the sky is falling" crowd. I was just remarking on the status of PC. Personally, I have no illusions about what the left will do. I can't find the reference no but I recall reading an "11th Beatitude" that went something like "Blessed is the man who expects the worst for to him life is full of pleasant surprises." I hope for the best but prepare (or try to prepare) for the worst. Problem is I sometimes come wind up being a "Pollyanna" and what actually happens is far worse than even I expected.


I mean in general.
Much of this has been in the works for a very , VERY long time - and a good deal of it at the hands of republicans.
So i'm sorry if I fail to see what the "leftist" agenda is in regards to these issues.

jorb
December 1, 2008, 04:35 PM
I don't know. I'm retired military myself. We used to train for riot control duty back in the late 60's and early 70's. Most of us took the training pretty seriously and were more than willing to, within legal limits, kick butts.
Now I am a little leary of deploying Active Duty Combat Bdes to support local and state authorities. I know the story now on Drudge mentions some pretty innocuous missions they will be trained for, but.....they are trained and equiped for much more. I'm just sayin, ya know?

2RCO
December 1, 2008, 04:49 PM
Not to add to the Tin hat crowd but we have several training facilities that are set up as American towns that the Military uses and for scenarios such as jorb mentioned.

In the right situation I would rather have the US military in my backyard AKA a serious riot in which people are destroying my property. The LA riots would have been a good time to call in the Marines. I also didn't mind seeing Marines with MGs posted at the bridges in DC after 911.

Our forces aren't a bunch of sheep that would brainlessly take away the rights of US citizens.

Sinixstar
December 1, 2008, 05:00 PM
Not to add to the Tin hat crowd but we have several training facilities that are set up as American towns that the Military uses and for scenarios such as jorb mentioned.

In the right situation I would rather have the US military in my backyard AKA a serious riot in which people are destroying my property. The LA riots would have been a good time to call in the Marines. I also didn't mind seeing Marines with MGs posted at the bridges in DC after 911.

Our forces aren't a bunch of sheep that would brainlessly take away the rights of US citizens.


Yea - I'd trust the military a lot more then I trust the local PD. Barney Fife with an AR in his hands thinking he's John Wayne - is not my idea of security.

Eightball
December 1, 2008, 05:56 PM
My intent wasn't to start a "sky is falling/leftists are planning a gun-grabbing apocalypse" thread; I was completely in the dark as to the PCA and what it meant insofar as military being used with domestic purposes in mind, from a purely "legal" standpoint.

Sinixstar
December 1, 2008, 06:33 PM
My intent wasn't to start a "sky is falling/leftists are planning a gun-grabbing apocalypse" thread; I was completely in the dark as to the PCA and what it meant insofar as military being used with domestic purposes in mind, from a purely "legal" standpoint.


Under the current legal definitions - it would be prohibited.
As far as possible future action - it would take an act of congress either making an exception, or repealing PCA all together. Neither of which I find particularly likely simplely for the sake of grabbing guns.

Zundfolge
December 1, 2008, 07:29 PM
I seriously doubt any president (or other politician) is going to worry about the law if they decide to start confiscating our guns en masse.

Sinixstar
December 1, 2008, 07:38 PM
I seriously doubt any president (or other politician) is going to worry about the law if they decide to start confiscating our guns en masse.


There's a lot more they'd have to deal with then just posse comitatus.....

monkyboy1975
December 1, 2008, 08:09 PM
Have we forgotten what happened during Hurricane Katrina? How many people were disarmed by the military.

Sinixstar
December 1, 2008, 08:30 PM
Have we forgotten what happened during Hurricane Katrina? How many people were disarmed by the military.


Declared state of emergency. Slightly different set of circumstances.
Also - was it the military, or was it military contractors? I don't recall any mention of the marines patroling NoLA. I do recall Blackwater and the National Guard being around though.

monkyboy1975
December 1, 2008, 08:33 PM
I was referring to the Guard, of which I am not slandering as I once upoun a time was in it.

Eightball
December 1, 2008, 08:33 PM
Declared state of emergency. Slightly different set of circumstances. Is that "all" that would be required by an anti-gun president, is to declare a "state of emergency" due to the number of firearms in circulation?

monkyboy1975
December 1, 2008, 08:37 PM
My point exactly eightball!

Sinixstar
December 1, 2008, 08:42 PM
Tin Foil hats do no one any good.

First and Foremost - technically - we are already in a state of emergency at the federal level. Herr Bush has been constantly renewing the declaration from 9/11. If the government wanted to, under the the current law - they could walk in and hand your ass to you if they wanted to.

Second off - Under the National Emergencies act - passed in 1976 - Congress has the power to kill any declaration of emergency made by the office of the executive.

really - if you're going to go off on conspiracy theory "they're coming to get us" garbage. at least somewhat pay attention to what the laws are, and what's already in place.

Blacksmoke
December 1, 2008, 08:43 PM
IT is crazy to use combat and logistical troops for law enforcement. Adding 20,000 personel to a federal police force that can be seconded to the Border Patrol, the Marshalls Service, etc. might make some sense.

Frog48
December 1, 2008, 08:50 PM
Posse Comitatus essentially says that the Military cannot be used for domestic police action.

Just to clarify things a bit...

The Posse Comitatus Act prohibits active duty military forces to be used for domestic law enforcement. It DOES NOT prohibit the use of National Guard forces for domestic law enforcement. The gray area is whether the President can call-up (aka "federalize") National Guard units, and then deploy them for domestic law enforcement. It is neither explicitly authorized or prohibited under the Posse Comitatus Act. However it is permitted under the 2006 amendments to the Insurrection Act.

Further, it does not prohibit active duty military forces from participating in civil disaster relief, search & rescue, medical assistance, etc.

All it would take would be another terrorist attack - Chemical or Biological or even Radiological - and congress would give his Baramaness essentially carte blanc.

Actually, the President already has that power. Active duty military can be used domestically for investigation and law enforcement in response to nuclear, chemical, and biological threats, without authorization from Congress.

Sinixstar
December 1, 2008, 08:52 PM
IT is crazy to use combat and logistical troops for law enforcement. Adding 20,000 personel to a federal police force that can be seconded to the Border Patrol, the Marshalls Service, etc. might make some sense.

Is that what they did?
Again - I don't recall the marines being deployed to NoLA - if they were, i'd certainly like to see some evidence of it.

Logistical troops 100% make sense in an emergency situation where rescue efforts are underway, and supplies, equipment, etc need to be coordinated.

meef
December 1, 2008, 09:06 PM
I don't know. I'm retired military myself. We used to train for riot control duty back in the late 60's and early 70's. Most of us took the training pretty seriously and were more than willing to, within legal limits, kick butts.:cool:

Kent State.

shooter429
December 1, 2008, 09:06 PM
Nothing to worry about. The Dems will never attack and murder men, women and children for alleged weapons possession. Don't be paranoid. As long as you are a Muslim terrorist, Eco-terrorist Mexican military or gang banger, they won't touch you. If you breach the border with armor, running drugs, you will be let go. It is only those terrible law-abiding Christian gun owners with single shot .22s that will be targeted and destroyed by military forces in the name of domestic security. And what in the world is wrong with that?

Shooter429

2RCO
December 1, 2008, 09:09 PM
meef -- Kent State was National Guard--PC doesn't apply

X9ballX
December 1, 2008, 09:11 PM
hmm has anyone heard of the us soldiers permanently station on us soil to deal with riots and such

Sinixstar
December 1, 2008, 09:20 PM
The Seige at Ruby Ridge and Waco.

Let's see - this Seige at Ruby Ridge?


Randy Weaver, a former Iowa factory worker, and his wife and children moved to northern Idaho during the 1980s in order to "home-school his children and escape what he and his wife Vicki saw as a corrupted world".[1] In January 1985, the US Secret Service investigated allegations that Weaver had made threats against the President and other government officials. While the Secret Service was told that Weaver was a member of the Aryan Nations and had a large weapons cache at his residence, Weaver denied the allegations and no charges were filed.[2] Weaver later filed an affidavit with the county clerk that he believed that he may have to defend himself and his family from an FBI attack.[2]
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms first became aware of Weaver in July 1986 when he was introduced to an ATF informant at a meeting of the Aryan Nations. Weaver had been invited by Frank Kumnick, who was the original target of the ATF investigation. Over the next three years, Weaver and the informant met several times.[2] In October 1989, the ATF claims that Weaver sold the informant two sawed-off shotguns, with the barrels shortened beyond the legal limit set by federal law. Weaver denied this, claiming agents purchased legal shotguns from Weaver and later shortened the barrels themselves. In June 1990, ATF agents attempted to have Weaver act as an informant for their investigation into the Aryan Nations organization. When Weaver refused, the ATF filed charges in June 1990 and a federal grand jury later indicted him in December 1990 for the sale of the illegal weapons in October 1989.[2]
ATF agents posed as broken-down motorists and arrested Randy and Vicki Weaver when they stopped to assist. Randy Weaver was told of the charges against him, released on bail, and told his trial would begin on 19 February 1991. Two weeks later, the trial date changed to 20 February, but the U.S. Probation Office sent out a letter which stated the date as 20 March. Weaver did not appear on the correct trial date, and the judge issued a warrant for his arrest. On 14 March a grand jury, which the U.S. Attorney's Office (USAO) had not informed of the incorrect date in the letter, indicted Weaver for failing to appear on the correct trial date.[2]
Weaver, distrustful of the federal government, refused to leave his cabin. U.S. Marshals Service officers made a series of attempts to have Weaver surrender peacefully. Marshals exchanged messages with Weaver through intermediaries several times until the US Attorney directed that all negotiations would go through Weaver's court-appointed counsel; however, Weaver did not have any contact with the attorney and refused to talk with him. Marshals then began preparing plans to capture Weaver to stand trial on the weapons charges and his failure to appear at the correct trial date.[2] Surveillance teams were dispatched and cameras were set up to record activity at Weaver's residence. Marshals observed that Weaver and his family responded to vehicles and other visitors by taking up armed positions around the cabin until the visitors were recognized.[2]


Yea - ZERO frickin sympathy for the guy. Zero at all.

Waco?

You mean the F-ing crazies who thought the world was going to end, and took up positions and fired over a damn search warrant?

Sorry guy - but again, ZERO sympathy whatsoever.

Fact of the matter is - we have a legal system in this country. LAW ABIDING CITIZENS avail themselves of that system. Those who choose to open fire on LE simply because their tin foil hats are on too tight - sorry, but you're exactly the reason why life is hard on the rest of us.

Sinixstar
December 1, 2008, 09:22 PM
hmm has anyone heard of the us soldiers permanently station on us soil to deal with riots and such

That just started, and from what I understand - it's not to deal with riots, it's to deal with potential attacks against the US.

meef
December 1, 2008, 09:26 PM
meef -- Kent State was National Guard--PC doesn't applyMy point was not so much whether PC was relevant, but speaking to the concept of:

We used to train for riot control duty back in the late 60's and early 70's. Most of us took the training pretty seriously and were more than willing to, within legal limits, kick butts.Willing to kick butts indeed. Forget the legal limits part when emotions get supercharged. The "willingness" part tends to override everything else.

Unfortunately.

2RCO
December 1, 2008, 09:28 PM
Willing to kick butts indeed. Forget the legal limits part when emotions get supercharged. The "willingness" part tends to override everything else.


The same applies to local LEOs

meef
December 1, 2008, 09:28 PM
Sinixstar.... I'm guessing that you drink way too much coffee.

:cool:

Sinixstar
December 1, 2008, 09:30 PM
Sinixstar.... I'm guessing that you drink way too much coffee.


Not at all - but to cite criminals and crazies who actively planned action against law enforcement - as some sort of justification to one's paranoia is not going to get a kind reaction from me.

Lone_Gunman
December 1, 2008, 09:34 PM
Yes - Congress could repeal Posse Comitatus. They could have done it at any time for the past 200+ years as well.

You need to get your facts straight. PCA has only been around for about 130 years.

meef
December 1, 2008, 09:35 PM
Not at all - but to cite criminals and crazies who actively planned action against law enforcement - as some sort of justification to one's paranoia is not going to get a kind reaction from me.Well, I'm not going to get in a prolonged urinating contest here - but I honestly have to say you tend to exhibit a far less than stellar command of the details on some of these issues you take such a passionate position on.

But that's your right.

Sinixstar
December 1, 2008, 09:37 PM
really? such as?
what details am I lacking?

2RCO
December 1, 2008, 09:37 PM
FWIW Randy Weaver may have possibly saved my life once. It was from a group of his nutjob buddies that thought I said something diferently than I did. He shut them up and shook my hand. The guy seems OK but he hangs with some fruitcakes.

LKB3rd
December 1, 2008, 10:00 PM
I think it has become clear that our government thinks that the laws are for us, and not them. Announcing 20,000 troops to be deployed domestically immediately following the robbery of trillions of dollars by our government(TARP), on behalf of banks, and with us headed toward depression should alarm anyone who is paying attention.

Sinixstar
December 1, 2008, 10:01 PM
I think it has become clear that our government thinks that the laws are for us, and not them. Announcing 20,000 troops to be deployed domestically immediately following the robbery of trillions of dollars by our government(TARP), on behalf of banks, and with us headed toward depression should alarm anyone who is paying attention.


They didn't just announce it.

Loomis
December 1, 2008, 10:12 PM
I didnt read every comment. I read half the first page and got discusted. I can't believe the things you people are advocating.

Do you people know what the purpose of the NATIONAL GUARD is? Apparently not.

Loomis
December 1, 2008, 10:15 PM
Meef, kent state was a stupid example to bring up.

Sinixstar
December 1, 2008, 10:16 PM
I didnt read every comment. I read half the first page and got discusted. I can't believe the things you people are advocating.

Do you people know what the purpose of the NATIONAL GUARD is? Apparently not


I don't think anybody's *advocating* anything. Somebody asked a question - some of us tried to answer.

Lone_Gunman
December 1, 2008, 10:33 PM
I think with the impending economic doom on the horizon, it is a good idea to have those 20,000 troops home and ready to suppress any unrest or insurrection that may ensue. We are not the same country we were 100 years ago, and the next Great Depression will be much more violent than the first. We are no longer as culturally monolithic as we were. We are not as self reliant, and do not accept responsibility as much as in the past. We have become a culture who expects to have whatever they want whenever they want it. When money gets low, I believe people will have little regard for law and order.

A case in point is the tragedy at the Wal Mart in Long Island this past weekend. A man was trampled to death by unruly shoppers who broke down a door just to save a few bucks on a Wii.

Bush has wanted to have these 20,000 troops here already. Its not a new idea.

Sinixstar
December 1, 2008, 10:35 PM
A case in point is the tragedy at the Wal Mart in Long Island this past weekend. A man was trampled to death by unruly shoppers who broke down a door just to save a few bucks on a Wii.


I dunno - they had 50" plasma screens for $799, and 10MP cameras for $69. And I mean, come on - DVD's for $9.
Guy shoulda known better then to be in front of those doors.
:rolleyes:

CentralTexas
December 1, 2008, 10:41 PM
With Waco, Koresh could easily have been taken in town. The Feds let it become the slaughter it was. Unproven allegations, fire and a huge concrete cap concluded the investigation.
With Ruby Ridge it could have been handled differently -and not started at all without officials trying to entrap/entice Weaver.
We can talk about the Union army torturing Southerners in prison.
http://thomaslegion.net/campmorton.html
The heavy handedness of the government of WWI American war vets in the "Bonus army" http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/snprelief4.htm
and there are may more examples.

Power corrupts and history is written by the victor. There are as many folks in denial about what the government is doing and is capable of as there are those saying "conspiracy" on this board. The key is to discuss these issues and be vigilant and not constantly scream "tin foil hat". Try to discuss these issues that have a bearing on 2A with an open idea and acceptance from both sides and we may learn something.

Sinixstar
December 1, 2008, 10:57 PM
With Waco, Koresh could easily have been taken in town. The Feds let it become the slaughter it was. Unproven allegations, fire and a huge concrete cap concluded the investigation.


Waco wasn't about arresting Koresh. It was about executing a search warrant on the property. Aside from the fact that there was no legal grounds to "take Koresh in town" - even if they had, what end would that have served to the search warrant?

As for "unproven allegations" Pretty sure search warrants are a means of gathering evidence as part of the due process to prove or disprove various allegations.

With Ruby Ridge it could have been handled differently -and not started at all without officials trying to entrap/entice Weaver.
It could have also been handled differently had Weaver decided not to respond to police with an aggressive posture, and hole up in his cabin.

I don't disagree that police and the government use some pretty heavy handed tactics. Fact of the matter is - in our society there is an existing framework for addressing those instances - should people choose to take advantage of it. Even when using those obscene tactics, the authorities will mostly make sure they are acting with some legal coverage. If private citizens decide to say screw the system, and take matters into their own hands - what exactly do you expect the outcome to be?
I cry tin foil hat when people look at situations like Waco and Ruby and jump up and down screaming about injustice and this and that. Was the government heavy handed? Perhaps. They were also dealing with people known to be well armed, and known to have an itch for taking on the government. Should perhaps the warrants been executed by 1 or 2 local PD's knocking on the door and asking to look around?
Again, in the society we live in - you can either choose to live within the law, or you can choose not to. If you choose not to - guess what's gonna happen. If that choice comes at a time when you've got an army of armed federal agents outside your door - well, so much the worst I guess.

meef
December 1, 2008, 11:09 PM
Meef, kent state was a stupid example to bring up.Loomis.... I love you too.

:cool:

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