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September 18, 2005

Hurricane Katrina and the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878

They said it couldn't happen here. Not in America. They would never come for our guns. Well guess what. It happened. The U.S. Army went door-to-door, illegally confiscating firearms.

But it did happen. It happened in New Orleans.

"No one will be able to be armed. We are going to take all the weapons." - Deputy Police Chief Warren Riley

Here's a video of the outrageous violations of our constitutional rights.

What was illegal about it? Well, it's hard to know where to start. First of all, the U.S. Army should not be used to police the United States. This idea was behind the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.

These were U.S. citizens, guaranteed the right to keep and bear arms by the 2nd amendment to the constiution. So what gave the U.S. Army the the right to occupy Louisiana? How did they inherit the right to confiscate the firearms?

I'm not clear that martial law was declared, as the Louisiana Constitution does not appear to recognize martial law. What gave them the right to confiscate firearms and how did they circumvent the posse comitatus?

I'm not saying New Orleans wasn't in a bad predicament, it was. Like many people, I was disappointed by the slow response at all levels, including the city, parish, state, and federal.

However, now that it's all settled, I think it's reasonable to ask if the law was violated. Was martial law declard? What are our safeguards against future violations of the posse comitatus? Against future disarmament campaigns?

Update: Michelle Malkin is covering this.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 18, 2005 at 12:17 PM


What should really be worrying you is the deafening silence by the media and your politicians regarding this total flushing of the constitution.
The biggest concern for those in power now is wether or not we can all touch our toes because they now know definitively that the US people as a force to be reckoned with no longer exists.
There must be hundreds of thousands spinning in their graves.

Posted by: Digital Spy on September 18, 2005 at 09:10 PM

Yes the martial law thing was a joke. Nobody seemed to know what was going on, if it had been declared or if it even could be.

And it's not just the Army operating domestically, there is also the Mexican Army there "giving aid".

You are right, we need to look into who broke the law and charge them. Period.

Posted by: Zach on September 19, 2005 at 12:53 PM

ArmsAndTheLaw.com has a lot of good entries on this subject.

Since I'm too lazy to link to each one of them right now, just go their archive at http://armsandthelaw.com/archives.php, and scroll down past "By Category" to "By Month."

Posted by: Robert on September 19, 2005 at 03:18 PM

I have been posting quite a bit lately on the subject of Posse Comitatus Act at Velvetrevolution.us. I am very wary of any discussion by the Bush Administration to adjust Posse Comitatus to "the current times". The time should ALWAYS be to preserve our rights, let us never be fooled by the usurpation upon our liberties for "security" reasons, or else we start to resemble the Germans pre-WW II . Thank you for your PCA entry , Peenie Wallie, especially for the incredible video of illegal confiscation of US citizens arms.

Here's an interesting site about the Nazi Weapons Law of March 18, 1938


Posted by: aspiemom on September 24, 2005 at 01:07 AM

I agree with you the way you view the issue. I remember Jack London once said everything positive has a negative side; everything negative has positive side. It is also interesting to see different viewpoints & learn useful things in the discussion.

Posted by: sizepro on November 13, 2005 at 09:55 AM