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Thread: Confiscation of citizens' firearms by military would be an illegal activity

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    This is more along the lines of a question and its related dialogue than an opinion of mine.

    Those who are in the military take an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I suspect most policing agencies take a similar oath as well. While the Bill of Rights is technically not part of the Constitution in its original draft and presentation (it was created 4 years later), it is part and party to the Constitution in its entirety.

    We all know that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and taking an oath to uphold this document means to uphold, support, and defend the entire document.. not just parts of it. With this said, if an order were to be given by a superior officer, or a governor or even the president, to gather up all privately owned firearms, the order would not and should not be obeyed SINCE IT WOULD BE ILLEGAL IN THE EXTREME and carrying it out could result in a courts martial with sever penalties.

    Please comment at your pleasure on this topic as I have played with this for several years now (Katrina being the start of it all).

    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    I agree completely. As I've said before, due to my AFSC (or MOS if you're in any other service :P) I'd probably never be ordered to confiscate guns from citizens, but if I was ever ordered to, I'd refuse.

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    USAF_MetalChris wrote:
    I agree completely. As I've said before, due to my AFSC (or MOS if you're in any other service :P) I'd probably never be ordered to confiscate guns from citizens, but if I was ever ordered to, I'd refuse.
    Thank you for your comments. You see, I really do not have or know the answer to this type of scenario since I would imagine there would be some who would be, and are, perfectly willing to carry out such an order either under the guise of believing it to be a proper directive and they know no better, or because those issuing the order could care less at the time for the Constitution.

    It also raises the question concerning armed resistance to such a situation. It has happened before (Athens, TN - 1946) and other places as well.

    Katrina should be a wakeup call to Americans but I fear that there are many who believe the "authorities" acted within reason and correctly.

    Please people.. more comments and opinions are most welcome.

    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    In theory, a soldier (I will use the generic term "soldier" to refer to all members of the military, much as it pains this former Marine to do so) would be completely right to refuse an order repugnant to the constitution, as this is certainly an unlawful order.

    The reality, of course, is that the definition of lawful is not clear to many in the service, and many laws which seem to violate the constitution have been upheld by various courts, or haven't been challenged yet. So if a soldier is ordered to confiscate weapons and round up citizens to compulsively transport them to disaster relief camps, there may indeed be some legal basis for doing so given all the awful laws Congress has passed, and the president has signed, in the last 8 years.

    Should the soldier refuse to do so on the grounds that it violates the constitution, he may be in trouble because the authorities will argue that the law authorizing the action hasn't been struck down by the USSC and is therefore not unconstitutional (at least not yet).

    Don't jump down my throat! I don't like this, I don't agree with it, it's just that I see this as being the way those in power will twist things in order to do what they want.

    The next problem is that the military or the police*, are heirarchical organizations with top-down authority, where rank counts for almost as much as any concept of right and wrong and certainly for more than individual liberty. In fact, during Marine basic training, it was repeatedly drilled into my head that I was not supposed to think like a "stinkin' individual", but as part of the team, the brotherhood. It went so far as to treach me to hate individualism and treat anyone who went against the grain as Blue Falcons (slang for Buddy F***ers). We were no longer "slimy, undisciplinedcivilians" who just want to do their own thing, we were part of a team and our personal wants and needs were insignificant. Years later I am now enjoying my status as a slimy civilian and all the attendant freedoms that go with it, so I have to wonder about teaching your troops to hate them.

    The result is that there is enormous pressure placed on the individual soldier to do exactly what he is told, and not to think excessively over the morality of the situation. When they order you to engage the enemy, they don't want you second-guessing the fact that are about to kill some poor kid who probably got drafted and doesn't want to be there, but who has also been trained not to think and will therefore kill you first if you give him a chance. They also don't want somebody with the power to lay waste to a city block or, in the case of nuclear weapons, whole cities, to suddenly grow a brain and start doing his own thing. They want the mission to be accomplished, and they want to maintain absolute control over their heavily-armed 20-year-olds, period.

    The training is very effective for building a force that can fight on a high-intensity battlefield against a conventionally-equipped enemy, such as say, Saddam's 1991 Iraqi army. We mopped the floor with them in the blink of an eye.

    But that very same training and mindset is what makes combat troops completely unsuited to the task of policing their own civilian populace. Countless historical events show the truth in this statement, just in North America alone. The Boston Massacre, for instance, was what happened when you put combat line infantry on police duty in one of your own cities. Not to mention the occupation of the South by federal troops during and after the Civil War, which led to the Posse Comitatus act (which, IIRC, has been allowed to expire, something we will someday rue).

    Back to the original question, though, I think it's pretty certain that if a Marine battalion is ordered to impose martial law on your town after a disaster of some sort, and they are told to confiscate your weapons, the young ones will do exactly that and hardly think twice about it. Some of the officers or older staff NCOs, however, will probably question the order, and the braver ones may even stick their necks out a bit. I have known more than a few good ones. In fact, it seems that whenever there is a plan to misuse the military for something immoral like this, there are always at least a handful of officers who, being taught that honor is more important than one's own career, will speak up against it.


    *ETA: I should say I included the word "police" here because of the trend among police in the USA to train and equip themselvesin an increasingly militaristic manner, thus forming the "standing army" we were once warned about.

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    Tomahawk wrote:
    SNIP The result is that there is enormous pressure placed on the individual soldier to do exactly what he is told, and not to think excessively over the morality of the situation.
    In NCO school, this former Marine was trained in the difference between lawful orders and unlawful orders. If I recall, they did touch on Posse Comitatus.

    It might not be all that hard to undercut this one. Maybe we can get our Congressmen to just require training against Posse Comitatus violations as part of boot camp training.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Citizen wrote:
    Tomahawk wrote:
    SNIP The result is that there is enormous pressure placed on the individual soldier to do exactly what he is told, and not to think excessively over the morality of the situation.
    In NCO school, this former Marine was trained in the difference between lawful orders and unlawful orders. If I recall, they did touch on Posse Comitatus.

    It might not be all that hard to undercut this one. Maybe we can get our Congressmen to just require training against Posse Comitatus violations as part of boot camp training.
    I deliberately had not mentioned the Posse Comitatus Act to see if someone might raise this most important piece of legislation. It also covers state National Guards as well as the "regular" military in matters of policing.

    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Tomahawk wrote:
    In theory, a soldier (I will use the generic term "soldier" to refer to all members of the military, much as it pains this former Marine to do so) would be completely right to refuse an order repugnant to the constitution, as this is certainly an unlawful order.

    The reality, of course, is that the definition of lawful is not clear to many in the service, and many laws which seem to violate the constitution have been upheld by various courts, or haven't been challenged yet. So if a soldier is ordered to confiscate weapons and round up citizens to compulsively transport them to disaster relief camps, there may indeed be some legal basis for doing so given all the awful laws Congress has passed, and the president has signed, in the last 8 years.

    Should the soldier refuse to do so on the grounds that it violates the constitution, he may be in trouble because the authorities will argue that the law authorizing the action hasn't been struck down by the USSC and is therefore not unconstitutional (at least not yet).

    Don't jump down my throat! I don't like this, I don't agree with it, it's just that I see this as being the way those in power will twist things in order to do what they want.

    The next problem is that the military or the police*, are heirarchical organizations with top-down authority, where rank counts for almost as much as any concept of right and wrong and certainly for more than individual liberty. In fact, during Marine basic training, it was repeatedly drilled into my head that I was not supposed to think like a "stinkin' individual", but as part of the team, the brotherhood. It went so far as to treach me to hate individualism and treat anyone who went against the grain as Blue Falcons (slang for Buddy F***ers). We were no longer "slimy, undisciplinedcivilians" who just want to do their own thing, we were part of a team and our personal wants and needs were insignificant. Years later I am now enjoying my status as a slimy civilian and all the attendant freedoms that go with it, so I have to wonder about teaching your troops to hate them.

    The result is that there is enormous pressure placed on the individual soldier to do exactly what he is told, and not to think excessively over the morality of the situation. When they order you to engage the enemy, they don't want you second-guessing the fact that are about to kill some poor kid who probably got drafted and doesn't want to be there, but who has also been trained not to think and will therefore kill you first if you give him a chance. They also don't want somebody with the power to lay waste to a city block or, in the case of nuclear weapons, whole cities, to suddenly grow a brain and start doing his own thing. They want the mission to be accomplished, and they want to maintain absolute control over their heavily-armed 20-year-olds, period.

    The training is very effective for building a force that can fight on a high-intensity battlefield against a conventionally-equipped enemy, such as say, Saddam's 1991 Iraqi army. We mopped the floor with them in the blink of an eye.

    But that very same training and mindset is what makes combat troops completely unsuited to the task of policing their own civilian populace. Countless historical events show the truth in this statement, just in North America alone. The Boston Massacre, for instance, was what happened when you put combat line infantry on police duty in one of your own cities. Not to mention the occupation of the South by federal troops during and after the Civil War, which led to the Posse Comitatus act (which, IIRC, has been allowed to expire, something we will someday rue).

    Back to the original question, though, I think it's pretty certain that if a Marine battalion is ordered to impose martial law on your town after a disaster of some sort, and they are told to confiscate your weapons, the young ones will do exactly that and hardly think twice about it. Some of the officers or older staff NCOs, however, will probably question the order, and the braver ones may even stick their necks out a bit. I have known more than a few good ones. In fact, it seems that whenever there is a plan to misuse the military for something immoral like this, there are always at least a handful of officers who, being taught that honor is more important than one's own career, will speak up against it.


    *ETA: I should say I included the word "police" here because of the trend among police in the USA to train and equip themselvesin an increasingly militaristic manner, thus forming the "standing army" we were once warned about.
    I certainly cannot argue with any of your presumptions. I can only hope that in the event of a national confiscatory action, there would be enough personal refusing to carry out such illegal orders that it would make things terribly difficult for those who wish to subdue our rights.. and us, and give us time to organize against this.

    Perhaps Katrina may have served as a wakeup call and a warning of what could happen should we all remain complacent. One can only hope and prepare. I still would have loved to see a bunch of Lousiana Good 'Ole Boys, armed to the teeth, telling the confiscating "authorities", "not today, not tomorrow, not ever".


    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    I was in the ARMY in 1965 when we were asked this very thing. Our replay [to a man] was first we shoot you, then join the rebels.

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    45guy wrote:
    I was in the ARMY in 1965 when we were asked this very thing. Our replay [to a man] was first we shoot you, then join the rebels.
    WHAT A GREAT FIRST POST!!!

    Welcome to OCDO!!
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Regular Member thx997303's Avatar
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    I agree with you man and welcome to the forum. I would never follow an order that violated the constitution.

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    45guy wrote:
    I was in the ARMY in 1965 when we were asked this very thing. Our replay [to a man] was first we shoot you, then join the rebels.
    Hooah!

    Unfortunately the vast majority of kids joining the military these days are deeply conditioned sheeple, and will follow any order blindly.

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    Iam weary about that. I do not like the draft, but I think a draft army is better than a voluntary/professional one. A draftee does not identify with the army but with the "people". This was 42 years ago and I think the kids today do not have the fire that we did. I hope that I am wrong.

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    SouthernBoy wrote:
    This is more along the lines of a question and its related dialogue than an opinion of mine.

    Those who are in the military take an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I suspect most policing agencies take a similar oath as well. While the Bill of Rights is technically not part of the Constitution in its original draft and presentation (it was created 4 years later), it is part and party to the Constitution in its entirety.

    We all know that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and taking an oath to uphold this document means to uphold, support, and defend the entire document.. not just parts of it. With this said, if an order were to be given by a superior officer, or a governor or even the president, to gather up all privately owned firearms, the order would not and should not be obeyed SINCE IT WOULD BE ILLEGAL IN THE EXTREME and carrying it out could result in a courts martial with sever penalties.

    Please comment at your pleasure on this topic as I have played with this for several years now (Katrina being the start of it all).
    Posse comitatus act, first off, would prohibit the military--excepting the Coast Guard, from any and all police actions anywhere within the United States. As the action would be unconstitutional on its face under Federal Law, it is an unlawful order with the duty to disobey.

    Martial law also does not suspend the Bill of Rights and gives police power to restore and maintain order, only. It would, under any conceivable scenario, be an unlawful order. (BTW, DoD civilians take the same oath to support and defend the constitution. I for one take it as seriously as when I took it as a brand new 2Lt.)
    "For any man who sheds his blood with me this day shall be my brother...And gentlemen now abed shall think themselves accursed, they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks who fought with us on Crispin's day." Henry V

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    IIRC after Katrina the US congress passed a law overwelmingly that in time of a disaster that when federal money was being spent, those agenciesusing it could not dissarm law abiding citizens. So,federal money could not be used to disarm us.
    Revelation 1911 - And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

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    I too swore an oath to that old document in 1982. I had to read the Constitution in high school because I had to andI didn't read it again until 3 years ago, this time because I wanted to understand it. I also read the supporting documentation such as the Federalist Papers, the Anti-Federalist Papers, Madison's Notes on the Constitutional Convention, Eliot's Debates, etc.

    That being said, I work as an Army Civilian andthe vast majorityof the military personnel I've met have no understanding of "The Supreme Law of the Land". They'll do what they are ordered to do.

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    Righhht! And it is alsonot possibleto hold people for over 6 yearswithout charges or trail just because they may be aterrorist. Or take a mans gun until he can prove ownership.How about arresting a photographer taking photos of his son swimming because "this is what pedophiles do".

    Power corrupts. If youdon't think the government and there servants [police etc.] are not---- well I have this bridge.

    They think that with the power to pass laws comes the power to ignore them.











    righ

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    I really wish I could find where I read this at and I'll keep searching for it...but I recall that there was a study done at 29 Palms and this question was asked amongst others. It reported that a large majority somewhere near 75% of the members questioned said they would carry out the order to confiscate private arms.

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    Toad wrote:
    I really wish I could find where I read this at and I'll keep searching for it...but I recall that there was a study done at 29 Palms and this question was asked amongst others. It reported that a large majority somewhere near 75% of the members questioned said they would carry out the order to confiscate private arms.
    That may be true, but imagine the hell that the remaining 25% of us would raise!

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    Yes, and this 25% is probably the best that carry the others in any operation.

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    Well, that tells you what the Marines at 29palms would do, I'll take 25% of the Marines on my side.

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    Assuming SCOTUS rules as we expect that the 2A protects an individual RKBA, I think that the constitutional issue of mass seizing firearms from the populace being a lawful order is pretty much answered. Taking posse comitatus with such a ruling and I don't think there is any way an argument that such an order is lawful can be made. On the other hand, I don't think that in any way precludes such an attempt on a localized basis in the name of martial law or supposed domestic terrorism.
    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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    The events I've witnessed since becoming an adult, including Waco and of course Katrina, seem to indicate that when the chips are down, those in power will throw the constitution and the law right out the window and do whatever they can get away with. Dealing with the consequences is something they either don't think they'll have to do, or figure they can deal with later.

    Having a posse comitatus law, a constitutional ammendment, and a USSC ruling to back them up are a good start to defend against this, but they are not good enough.

    The ultimate goal for us should be to a have a society in which the common man holds this government behavior to be unthinkable, and who firmly believes in individual liberty being not only more important than a compelling state interest, but to be itself a compelling state interest, the most important of them all. In an emergency, respecting the rights of individuals and enlisting their help is the best course, and liberty is the mark of civilization, which is what is at stake.

    Right now most people, including troops, believe that when there's an emergency of some sort, it's the state's job to handle it, and that emergencies make it okay to temporarily disregard rights and liberties. They get this idea from generations of public schooling andpopular culture. It will be an uphill struggle to reverse this thinking, but I think it's possible.

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    Tomahawk wrote:
    SNIP The ultimate goal for us should be to a have a society in which the common man holds this government behavior to be unthinkable, and who firmly believes in individual liberty being not only more important than a compelling state interest, but to be itself a compelling state interest, the most important of them all. In an emergency, respecting the rights of individuals and enlisting their help is the best course, and liberty is the mark of civilization, which is what is at stake.
    The new battle cry!!

    "Liberty is the compelling state interest!"
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Citizen wrote:
    Tomahawk wrote:
    SNIP The ultimate goal for us should be to a have a society in which the common man holds this government behavior to be unthinkable, and who firmly believes in individual liberty being not only more important than a compelling state interest, but to be itself a compelling state interest, the most important of them all. In an emergency, respecting the rights of individuals and enlisting their help is the best course, and liberty is the mark of civilization, which is what is at stake.
    The new battle cry!!

    "Liberty is the compelling state interest!"
    Let me expand a bit farther and say that the whole purpose for splitting from the crown and forming our own government is the protection of our rights; it even says so in the Declaration of Independence.

    The idea is that if you take a bunch of mostly moral, rational individuals like say, American colonists, and protect their freedom, the prosperity and security of the nation will take care of itself.

    This is why we had no police forces in the beginning, and not even a standing army until after WWII. It's why we don't need a huge government beauracracy to protect us from terrorists in train stations and airplanes, or to tap our phones, or to set energy policy, or any of this stuff. We are adults and if left free to do so, we'll handle it. If I owned my own airline and was able to set my own rules for security of my airplanes, I can guarantee there will be no hijackings, and it won't cost the taxpayers a dime.

    All we should have is a government that protects my freedom, and we will take care of our own security and work hard to make this a prosperous country. We will protect the state as it protect us, and for the most part everybody wins.

    Instead, we have a government that is obessed with planning the future of the nation, and maintaining it's own control. It wants to replace freedom with central planning and central control, and somehow thinks this will result in a more prosperous state. In emergencies, it moves quickly to assume more power and strip us of more freedom.

    The result will be a less prosperous state, less productive and more vulnerable to security threats, with a brainwashed populace who thinks it's okay for troops or police to confiscate weapons or anything else when the next hurricane strikes.

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    I'll second what TH has said. Essentially, the government will not make the mistake again of issueing "unlawful" orders. We have one federal law enforcement agency (BATFE) devoted to violating the Second Amendment, and another (DEA) devoted to violating the Tenth Amendment, and both are found to be "lawful" in their duties. Once unconstitutional actions are made "legal", all debate ceases in the head of the average American.

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