Will We See US Military Troops on American Soil?
American’s have long enjoyed the freedom of movement. As we see more and more government control, many citizens are concerned that if Americans were forced to take up arms that the US Military would be used to quell any insurrection. The Founding Fathers thought of that. Here’s what they did about it.
Posse Comitatus Act
On June 18,1878, after the end of Reconstruction, The Posse Comitatus Act was passed. Its purpose was to limit the Federal Government’s power to use military personnel to assist in the enforcement of state laws.
The original act only applied to the Army, Navy and Marine Corp of the United States. The Act does not apply to the National Guard, under state authority, to enforce laws within its home state or another state if invited by that states governor.
You might remember the Nation Guard being used to restore order during Hurricane Katrina. They were also used here in Bozeman following the downtown explosion in 2005.
The US Coast Guard is also not included in the Posse Comitatus Act because of its authority as maritime law enforcement and its federal regulatory mission.
The Insurrection Act of 1807
The intention of this act is to limit the President’s authority to deploy US Military forces on American soil in the event of lawlessness, insurrection and rebellion.
The original direction behind the law was to allow state’s to handle their own affairs internally by using the militia and later the National Guard.
The 2007 Defense Authorization Bill
Due to the events of 9/11 and terrorist activities, Congress modified the Insurrection Act with the 2007 Defense Authorization Bill. They also changed the name of the Act to the more politically correct, "Enforcement of the Laws to Restore Public Order."
This modification gave the president far more power to use US Military Troops for things like, natural disasters, epidemics, serious public health emergencies, terrorist attacks, or other conditions, when the President determines that the authorities of the state are incapable of maintaining public order. In other words almost anything he wanted.
Thankfully the 2008 Defense Authorization Bill repealed those changes.
Presidential Authority to Use US Military Forces
Here are the current conditions the president can use to deploy US Military Troops on American soil.
(1) The President may employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to--
(A) 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 in any State or possession of the United States, the President determines that--
(i) domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order; and
(ii) such violence results in a condition described in paragraph (2); or
(B) suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy if such insurrection, violation, combination, or conspiracy results in a condition described in paragraph (2).
(2) A condition described in this paragraph is a condition that--
(A) so hinders the execution of the laws of a State or possession, as applicable, and of the United States within that State or possession, 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, and the constituted authorities of that State or possession are unable, fail, or refuse to protect that right, privilege, or immunity, or to give that protection; or
(B) opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws.
Some Final Thoughts
Will the US Military show up on my doorstep requesting my guns or to relinquish ownership of my property? Probably not. I still have enough faith in what the Founding Fathers originally wanted this country to be.
I think there are still enough good people in this nation to abide by the freedoms the Constitution provides. I just hope there are enough of us.