With violence escalating seemingly out of all control in the fabled city that would ban all guns, politicians in Chicago are now openly calling for the National Guard. Since a quarter century long policy of gun control has left the city's citizenry unarmed, it seems that citizen-soldiers are the next step...for the sake of the children.
Rampant violent crime in Chicago has garnered not only local and regional, but also national and international media coverage. After an epically violent Independence Day weekend in which more than 74 were shot in the city, local politicians started making calls. State Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago) publicly issued a call to the Governor pleading, "I am requesting with this press conference that Gov. Patrick Quinn order the Illinois National Guard (and) the Illinois State Police (to) come to Chicago and work with our mayor Ron (sic) Emanuel to provide safety for the children, especially." Representative Davis had the public support of other lawmakers.
Is this legal?
The National Guard, the amalgamation of the organized state militias in 1903, is the 350,000-member strong organization of part-time citizen soldiers who work regular 'day jobs' and sign up for the nearly mythical one weekend a month/two weeks during the summer position in a reserve military unit of the US Army. Since the Guard replaced the state militias that had existed since 1636, they serve a dual role as both a back up to the Army under the orders of the President, and in a state role as the local muscle of under the orders of the Governor. Because of this dual-purpose, they can be used to help support local law enforcement if called upon. The Posse Comitatus Act forbids regular US troops from doing so under most circumstances.
(The National Guard, besides being called to serve overseas under federal command, also trains for disaster relief and 'operations other than war' that can include constabulary service in the homeland)
Watchdog for failed cities
It's not uncommon for the National Guard to be called out into cities when the locals have lost control of the situation. This happened in 1967 in Detroit and Newark, 1992 in Los Angeles and 2005 in New Orleans. The first three instances were due to widespread riots and the last was due to Hurricane Katrina. Following that epic natural disaster, as many as 15,000 state troops drawn from around the country had to maintain law and order for four months while the shattered New Orleans Police Department rebuilt their ranks. It should be remembered that it was this department that confiscated thousands of legally owned firearms from law-abiding citizens during the disaster, many of which were never returned.
(The Guard was called to respond to the floods and devastation of Katrina in New Orleans and wound up staying on the job for nearly four years doing police work)
It seems NOPD needed more help because the Guard was called back in June 2006 and kept a battalion-sized unit of military police augmenting the locals for the next three years. "The troops had full arrest powers but were required to call New Orleans police on serious matters. In their time on the streets, Guard troops were involved in only one shooting, and the district attorney ruled it justified." . Even with this withdrawal, there are those who want the guard back in NOLA. One state representative wrote the Governor in 2011, "I am formally requesting that you direct the Louisiana National Guard to immediately return to the city of New Orleans,. The city is besieged by gun-toting criminals who have no regard for innocent citizens or law enforcement."
Another problem area with outnumbered and armed criminals facing an under armed citizenry is Puerto Rico. With a murder rate more than five times the national average, it has very tough gun laws. To own a gun on the island you have to get a 'licensia de armas' sponsored by your local gun club, signed by three current gun owners, from the police. Just six months ago, recently inaugurated Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla activated the 10,000-member PR National Guard to help "fight drug and weapons trafficking on the island." In a statement he said, "As a national security issue, we will activate the National Guard intelligently so they are present in seaports and airports, working to interdict the offering of drugs and illegal weapons in Puerto Rico."
It seems that there is a formula with the false premise of "more gun control = less violent crime," but in the end leads to calling out the National Guard.
Firearms Talk will keep you abreast of the issues as they happen. Stay tuned.