As we drift further down this path, I felt that we could use a couple of tips on some legal items. Not because we think we’re going to win any great legal battles, but because we need to be able to establish an “affirmative defense”.
The man in the photo above, first asked the police to clear traffic, and when the officer refused, he confronted the BLM protestors. One of them shoved him, and an another brandished a pepper spray pistol. When the man pushed back, he was arrested and faced assault charges. Now, we know that in the end, he will most likely win because of the sheer amount of video available, but he as still arrested and charged.
First recommendation – the same one I’ve always made. Always keep a body camera with you. Something you can clip on when needed and document your actions and the actions of others.
We all already know that we should be aware of our state’s self defense laws, so rather than recap those ideas, I want you to focus on learning a couple of other areas of law that can help protect you as the situation worsens. I know, none of these things stop a DA or Prosecutor from charging you, but they can help you present your case to the court or jury.
These areas also will apply during a Without Rule of Law situation, because at some point, order will be restored, and someone may need you to clarify your actions during certain encounters. Even if society collapses, WE won’t lose our morality, and there may even be sheriff’s trying to maintain at least some semblance of order.
These points will help you have a legal foundation to explain your position. Just because the Federal and most state governments have stopped following the Constitution and law, doesn’t mean we have to. Being able also to legally justify the actions that you took helps with public impressions, when for example, the government charges you with trespassing and sedition for walking into a building open to the public.
We all know the Second Amendment, but do you know your state’s Constitution and it’s stance on firearms? It’s a vital legal protection for you, because it limits what State Government can do. Here is Michigan’s stance:
Every person has a right to keep and bear arms for the defense of himself and the State.
Michigan Constitution, Article 1, Section 6
This means that not only can you possess “arms”, you may also “bear” them. Bearing arms means carrying them. Arms can mean much more than guns, by the way. It also establishes firmly that you may possess arms for self-defense, not hunting. It also says “for the defense of the State”. That is de-facto authorization to resist things that threaten the state, like anarchy, widespread rioting, and a foreign invasion.
As an interesting side point to “the defense of the state”, is a an event that is little known outside of the LDS Church. That event is known as the Utah War and it occurred just before the Civil War. Governor Brigham Young of Utah Territory mobilized the state militia to resist an incursion by the federal government. They even fought briefly, leading to a negotiated settlement. Every person who fought on the side resisting the federal government was given amnesty for sedition and treason charges. Some times, a stand must be made.
Clauses like this are vital, because if the federal government passes an assault weapon ban, they can only impact guns sold “in interstate commerce”. Your rights default to the State’s definition for guns you already own. You wouldn’t be able to get a new one, but your state’s assertion that you can “keep and bear arms” protects what you already have.
Clauses like this also expose the illegal nature of bans on private guns sales. If I am guaranteed the right to keep and bear them, why do I not retain normal property rights in them? Including the right to sell to whomever I chose.
The next area of law will seem controversial, but bear with me as I explain.
You need to know and fully understand your state’s citizen arrest laws. Not because I think we should be arresting anyone at all, but because you can use them to defend your actions. Let me explain.
In most states, any citizen can make an arrest when someone commits a felony in your presence, or when you have knowledge that a person has committed a felony.
One fine fall day, I was in Lansing, Michigan. ANTIFA showed up at a rally and pepper sprayed the crowd, without provocation. That action was a felony. Not only does that fact allow you to use lawful self defense, you could also detain the attacker. I’m not advocating doing that at all, but let’s say you were standing next him, and you tackled him to stop his attack, and held him on the ground briefly to get the pepper spray from him, then let him up.
He could run over to the police and report that you falsely imprisoned him. The fact that you COULD HAVE legally made a citizens arrest if you had chosen to is an affirmative defense for your actions. You were legally able to act as you did, covered by both self defense and citizens arrest statutes.
These statutes will become more important in a WROL situation, not less. Knowing what you can do legally will help keep good people from sliding into anarchy with the rest. And, at some point, as I mentioned before, order will be restored, and you may have to answer for things.
Read all sections of the self-defense and citizens arrest laws, because they are rooted in common law, and that’s the entire basis for your mutual aid group’s existence, self defense and community preparedness.
As an example, Michigan Law allows a private person the right to forcibly enter a building if you know that someone who has committed a felony is inside. It also authorizes you to use force and to break out of said building if you encounter resistance (they used the words “are detained in the process”).
Let me say this again: I’m not advocating arresting anybody, but understanding when you CAN, will help you in defense of your use of self-defense. As an executive protection agent, I have no more arrest authority or authority to use force than any other citizen. However, by knowing the arrest and self defense laws, I can defend a client, and if urgently needed, arrest or pursue the attacker into a building. The same applies to any citizen.
When would I ever use this? If I knew that an attacker had the ability to harm others and was still on the loose, such as an active shooter I would. In the extreme case, picture a WROL situation and someone is just sniping people and there are no police to come. Using the laws mentioned above, you would be able to defend your actions if you and your team took action against that sniper, to include deadly force after a forced entry.
Another area of law for you to know is your state’s emergency powers laws. These laws are the ones that will be used to try and enforce unusual measures. Knowing what they can and can’t do SHOULD help, while it might not, as certain states (cough-Michigan-cough) found out. Knowing what they can legally do will at least allow you to prepare for those effects. I’ll leave it at that, sorry Feds.
Knowing your rights under the 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments (and related state provisions) is crucial, and I assume everyone knows them already, but I wanted to give a few tips here. The first is that no good ever comes from agreeing to speak to federal agents without a lawyer present. If they knock on your door, you are under no obligation to ever answer the door, or to answer their questions. That goes for every level of law enforcement.
This applies EVEN MORE in a WROL situation. Remember a couple weeks ago when I mentioned the Defense Production Act? Imagine week 3 of no power and no food in stores. The DHS hears about your preparedness and decides to do a “knock and talk”. You let them in, and they see your 5 year supply of food. BOOM, you are arrested for 50 USC 4512, Hoarding of Designated Scarce Materials. Your food is seized.
The 4th is a bit trickier in our modern society. The number one way in which searches are conducted in America currently is consent. An officer rolls up and says “I’m just going to check your pockets for my safety, is that Ok?”. No, it is NOT OK. “Would you mind if I took a look in your trunk?” Yes, I mind. Your best response when an officer asks you to consent to a search is an unequivocal “No, I do not give consent to any search whatsoever”. We’re not being uncooperative; if we’ve done nothing wrong, we shouldn’t have to PROVE IT by letting our rights be trampled.
But, the bigger problem now is technology. Police departments ask neighborhood watch groups to authorize them to view the video from their Nest or Google Home cameras, “to help protect the neighborhood”, and they have you sign an “agreement”, which is really an unrestricted consent to search your video cameras. ALL OF THEM, not just the outside ones.
Also, if you have an Alexa or Google Home device, it is always listening. The terms and conditions require you to agree to that. Now, they say that they don’t keep recordings, but log on to the website and check your “security options”. One says something like “Delete Daily Recordings”. You wouldn’t be able to delete them if they weren’t making them. When your friends say you are just being paranoid when you bring this up, ask them how the device knows when they are talking to it. When they answer, say “The device wouldn’t know you said ‘Alexa’ at any given time unless it was ALWAYS LISTENING”.
As you can see, there is a lot more to preparedness than just food, water, and ammo. Knowing some of these legal concepts can prepare you for the semi-WROL situation we find ourselves in today. In these times, remember that self-defense is within GOD’S LAW, and this piece of Tactical Wisdom should guide you:
But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.“
Do not let the State scare you into submission to evil.
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One thought on “Legal Preparedness 102”
“Citizen’s Arrest” is a concept that we looked into regarding our church security team. One aspect of it that isn’t apparent is that once an arrest is made, you suddenly have a number of legal obligations that go along with it. If the arrestee says he needs medical care – you are now responsible for providing it. If he says he has to use the bathroom, you have to figure out how to safely allow for that. If someone is under Citizen’s Arrest, you suddenly become responsible for a whole lot of things, and non-compliance with that can land you in legal hot water. As was pointed out in the article, that’s a true last-resort option.
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