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Thread: the Posse Comitatus Act is not only irrelevant but also downright dangerous

  1. #1
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    the Posse Comitatus Act is not only irrelevant but also downright dangerous

    Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

    -Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 1385
    The quotation above is the much-discussed Posse Comitatus Act in its entirety. That is it! That is all there is to it. Seldom has so much been derived from so little. Few articles written about the act and its implications cite the law as it is written, leading one to believe that the authors have never taken the trouble to go to the U.S. Code and see for themselves or to look up the legislative history of the act or to read the exceptions in the law. As a result, much of what has been said and written about the Posse Comitatus Act is just plain nonsense.

    The Posse Comitatus Act is often cited as a major constraint on the use of the military services to participate in homeland security, counterterrorism, civil disturbances, and similar domestic duties. It is widely believed that this law prohibits the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps from performing any kind of police work or assisting law enforcement agencies to enforce the law. This belief, however, is not exactly correct.
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    Congress should initiate action to enact a new law that would set forth in clear terms a statement of the rules for using military forces for homeland security and for enforcing the laws of the United States. Things have changed a lot since 1878, and the Posse Comitatus Act is not only irrelevant but also downright dangerous to the proper and effective use of military forces for domestic duties.

    What is correct is that new rules are needed to clearly set forth the boundaries for the use of federal military forces for homeland security. The Posse Comitatus Act is inappropriate for modern times and needs to be replaced by a completely new law.

    http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/call/docs/10-16/ch_12.asp
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    Regular Member stealthyeliminator's Avatar
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    I was surprised when I actually looked it up and started reading about it. What I heard it was, suddenly I realized it was not.
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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    The concern I have with revising the Act is that the possibility of getting something even worse not only exists but is a high order of probability.

    Much like folks that support/encourage a Constitutional Convention to fiddle with their favorite part not realizing that once you open that box everything inside becomes fair game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    The concern I have with revising the Act is that the possibility of getting something even worse not only exists but is a high order of probability.

    Much like folks that support/encourage a Constitutional Convention to fiddle with their favorite part not realizing that once you open that box everything inside becomes fair game.

    stay safe.
    how people think it will be vs. reality ?

    But really, what does this have to do with car or movies?
    Last edited by davidmcbeth; 10-20-2014 at 07:58 PM.

  5. #5
    Campaign Veteran since9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    The concern I have with revising the Act is that the possibility of getting something even worse not only exists but is a high order of probability.
    I concur.

    The nature of the act is simple: Can't use military forces to enforce local, county, State or Federal law, at least not without specific action on the part of Congress.

    It's backed up by a DoD reg: 10 U.S.C. 375. Restriction on direct participation by military personnel: "The Secretary of Defense shall prescribe such regulations as may be necessary to ensure that any activity (including the provision of any equipment or facility or the assignment or detail of any personnel) under this chapter does not include or permit direct participation by a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps in a search, seizure, arrest, or other similar activity unless participation in such activity by such member is otherwise authorized by law."

    However, it's since been modified: The John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 (H.R. 5122), which was signed into law on October 17, 2006. Section 1076 is titled "Use of the Armed Forces in major public emergencies." It provided that: "The President may employ the armed forces... to... restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition... the President determines that... domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order... or [to] suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy if such... a condition... so hinders the execution of the laws... that any part or class of its people is deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law... or opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws."

    In 2008, these changes in the Insurrection Act of 1807 were repealed in their entirety, as they gave the President way too much power. The purpose of Posse Comitatus was to limit Presidential power on domestic soil. As the Command in Chief, he could abuse that authority in a heartbeat. The law was designed to give Congress leverage to impeach any President who attempted it. The NDA in 2007 overstepped the bounds, and was repealed in 2008.

    In 2011, Obama singed a version into law containing a bunch of "covered person" crap.

    There are other exceptions, so the "that's it" line comes up short.

    Much like folks that support/encourage a Constitutional Convention to fiddle with their favorite part not realizing that once you open that box everything inside becomes fair game.
    Hence the Second Amendment's "shall not be infringed" absolute moratorium against any inroads. Sadly, it's been ignored far too often.
    The First protects the Second, and the Second protects the First. Together, they protect the rest of our Bill of Rights and our United States Constitution, and help We the People protect ourselves in the spirit of our Declaration of Independence.

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    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    If the US Military is ordered to attack US civilians I think compliance with the GCA and other 2A restrictions are going to suddenly be of minor issue or concern.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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