April 26, 2010
Illinois state Reps. and Chicago Democrats John Fritchey and LaShawn Ford are calling for on the governor, Chicago mayor Daley and Superintendent Jody Weis to use the National Guard in response to crime in the city.
|Soldiers with the Louisiana Army National Guard draw their weapons on a man following Hurricane Katrina.|
“As we speak, National Guard members are working side-by-side with our troops to fight a war halfway around the world,” Fritchey said in a Sunday release. “The unfortunate reality is that we have another war that is just as deadly taking place right in our back yard. Is this a drastic call to action? Of course it is. But is it warranted when we are losing residents to gun violence at such an alarming rate? Without question.”
“Enough is enough. We’ve already lost too many lives. We need action now,” Ford said.
Fritchey said guard members have been trained in civil law enforcement as part of their nation-building assignments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It is illegal to own a handgun in Chicago. Proponents of outlawing the Second Amendment in the city argue that taking guns out of the hands of citizens will reduce violence and the murder rate. 113 people have been killed in Chicago so far this year, the exact same number as U.S. troops reported killed during the same time period in Iraq and Afghanistan. The murder rate in Chicago soared immediately after the city banned handguns in 1982.
The Posse Comitatus Act prohibits members of the federal uniformed services, including the State National Guard, from exercising nominally state law enforcement, police, or peace officer powers that maintain law and order on non-federal property within the United States. The act does not apply to National Guard units while under the authority of the governor of a state.
The John Warner National Defense Authorization Act gave the president the authority to call out National Guard troops in the event of “public emergencies,” although the wording of the bill was later repealed and reverted to the previous wording of the Insurrection Act.
In 2007, following Hurricane Katrina, Congress changed the 200-year-old Insurrection Act to allow the president to control state National Guards in the event of an emergency. In a letter to Congress, a number of state governors called the change “a dramatic expansion of federal authority during natural disasters that could cause confusion in the command-and-control of the National Guard and interfere with states’ ability to respond to natural disasters within their borders.”
In 2008, Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered the Pentagon to conduct a “broad review” to determine if the military and the National Guard and Reserve can “adequately deal with domestic disasters.” Gates’ order followed an earlier report released by the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves urging the Pentagon to “use the nation’s citizen soldiers to create an operational force that would be fully trained, equipped and ready to defend the nation.”
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Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis said he did not believe calling out the National Guard is the best solution for a soaring crime rate in the city. “I appreciate their frustration and their willingness to help,” he told Fox News. “But I am simply not sure the National Guard is the answer to our problems — at least in terms of mass deployment. I’m frankly not sure what their mission would be.”
“I spent six years in the Army, and I never got any course on how or why to obtain a search warrant,” Weis said. “That simply isn’t part of the military mission, but it’s something our officers have to deal with every day.”
In July of 2009, an Illinois National Guard military police unit deployed armored vehicles on the streets of Springfield.
In February, Pittsburgh mayor Luke Ravenstahl called in the National Guard in response to a snow storm. The troops soon began patrolling the streets. The mayor told residents on a live broadcast that the should “be advised that you will begin to see National Guard Humvees in some of your neighborhoods beginning this evening.” Ravenstahl also said issues that would normally be handled by police would be handled by the National guard, including “domestic disputes” normally addressed by the police.
During the G20 summit in Pennsylvania last year, neighboring New York announced it would mobilize the National Guard and deploy Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters. “The New York Army National Guard aircrew and helicopters are flying in support of the Pennsylvania National Guard’s Joint Task Force G20 which is executing Operation Steel Kickoff, security support for the G20 Summit involving 2,500 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen working at the direction of the Secret Service,” reported ReadMedia Newswire in January.
In 2008, National Guard troops were dispatched to patrol Times Square during the New Year celebration.
The Iowa National Guard was forced to rollback a military training exercise on the streets of a rural Iowa town in February, 2009, after negative publicity. The Guard had planned a four-day urban military operation in tiny Arcadia, Iowa, population 443, sending troops to take over the town and search door-to-door for a suspected weapons dealer, WorldNetDaily reported.