You know governments have confiscated or banned guns during martial law in Venezuela, the Philippines, the Soviet Union, Guatemala, Uganda, and many other countries.
But did you know that the United States government has confiscated guns during martial law?
We aren’t just talking about the uprisings during the 18th century. There are numerous recent situations where the government has confiscated firearms.
Can the Government Take Your Guns?
Even in times of crisis, it is still ILLEGAL for the government to confiscate weapons from law-abiding citizens. The Constitution can’t just be put on hold because of a threat. However, that doesn’t mean firearm confiscation hasn’t happened (or won’t happen again). As John Whitehead at Medium put it,
If the government is consistent about any one thing, it is this: it has an unnerving tendency to exploit crises and use them as opportunities for power grabs under the guise of national security.
Take what happened during Hurricane Katrina. Soldiers were sent out to confiscate firearms without a warrant. Patricia Konie, a resident of New Orleans, was one of the victims of this illegal confiscation. She had emergency supplies stockpiled in her home, including a revolver for personal protection.
When she refused to turn it over to the soldiers who came to confiscate it, she was attacked, had her shoulder fractured, and was taken into custody. You can see the video of Konie’s ordeal here.
It’s worth noting that the Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act was passed after the Katrina debacle. The law prevents the confiscation of firearms during a disaster. Yet, guns did get seized during Hurricane Irma in the US Virgin Islands. Obviously, the “legality” of things goes out the window in the chaos of a natural disaster.
But now we’ve got Red Flag laws that allow officials to confiscate weapons from citizens who “pose a grave risk to public safety.” already, 17 states have these laws, and the number is growing.
Anything Could Happen during Martial Law
While it may be illegal to confiscate weapons under the US Constitution, it doesn’t mean it won’t happen. I doubt you’ll have time to argue the fine points of the law when there is a team of soldiers at your door demanding your firearms and ammo.
Keep in mind that plenty of other civil rights violations are completely legal during a state of emergency. For example, the government can suspend the law that bans testing biological and chemical agents on human subjects during a national emergency.
The point? Better safe than sorry.
Read more about the safest places to be during martial law.
Hiding Your Guns during Normal Times vs. Martial Law
According to federal data, nearly 200,000 firearms are reported lost or stolen yearly. Even if you take measures to secure your home against intruders, home invasion is still possible – so you must ensure your guns are well hidden or secured.
But let’s be clear here:
Hiding guns during martial law is NOT the same as during normal times!
There is a lot of debate about what would happen during martial law. Some believe the authorities would come with X-ray equipment and gun-sniffing dogs to find your guns. Others believe that confiscating guns wouldn’t be possible because there would be too much chaos to organize the authorities into a thorough cordon and search operation.
Anyone who tells you they know exactly what will happen during a SHTF situation (and what you should do) is full of Sh#t!
We don’t know what will happen, so we always prepare ourselves for the WORST CASE SCENARIO – while simultaneously praying that it won’t happen. Prepping for the worst means hiding your guns as best as you can.
*Also, read this article about How to Subvert the Authorities and Survive Martial Law.
Know Where NOT to Hide Your Guns
The first thing about hiding guns during martial law is knowing where not to hide them. Remember, we are prepping for the worst – which means armed soldiers with gun-sniffing dogs and ground-penetrating radar coming into your home.
Hiding your guns in the usual places – like a hidden compartment under your kitchen cabinets – won’t work in these worst-case scenarios.
Ideally, you don’t hide your guns inside your home.
If you must hide your guns inside, count on the fact that authorities during martial law probably won’t have a lot of time to do a thorough search (again, we don’t know what will happen – we can just weigh the likely possibilities).
Places like a hollow hot water tank or a watertight bag under the gravel in a fish tank could work. Ammo could go in a hollow curtain rod.
An off-site hiding place might also work. I’m not talking about your Uncle Jim’s house because the authorities will go there to confiscate firearms too. By off-site, I mean a storage shed somewhere.
Of course, the authorities could also search all storage sheds – it just might take longer to get to those, so you may have time to grab your stored guns and GO before they are confiscated.
Hiding Your Guns Underground
Most experts agree that underground is the best place to hide your guns during martial law. Yes, authorities have ground-penetrating radar that would allow them to find buried guns. However, it is unlikely that there will be time to search every square inch of your property, so underground is likely the best way to go.
Backwoods Home has a great article on how to hide your guns underground. There are some advanced strategies there for hiding guns underground – like digging a trench from your home to a shed or barn. The trench has a heavy metal cable in it. The firearm is at the end of the trench. The authorities detect metal and start digging; they find the cable first and don’t bother to search anymore.
Burying a gun is very problematic:
- You need to find an unobservable place that no one will bother
- The site also needs to be accessible so you can get your weapons when the SHTF
- You need to protect your gun against the elements
Rather than rehashing all of this info, I recommend reading the Backwoods Home article. The author does a great job explaining options for storage containers, locations, and other logistics of hiding guns underground.
Bonus Strategies for Hiding Guns during Martial Law
In addition to hiding your guns underground or indoors, here are some other strategies which can help keep your firearms safe when SHTF during martial law:
1 Have a Decoy Gun
Have a gun badly hidden somewhere in your home. Then the authorities come and find it, make a big deal about turning it over.
“How am I going to protect myself without a gun?”
“You are going to take my ONLY gun!!!!”
If the authorities come with a list of all your registered guns, this probably won’t work. This could work if the grid is down and they don’t have access to the registers (such as after a major EMP event).
2 Build a Gun
It is easier to build a gun than you might think. You can find instructions online. There are also a lot of people who have made guns with 3D printers.
3 Report Your Gun as Stolen
If the authorities have a list of the guns you own, you could get thrown in jail for not turning them all over – including those you’ve hidden underground.
One way to get your guns off the register is to report them stolen. It is illegal, and I’m not condoning it in normal situations. However, if you see the situation getting really bad, you could report your gun as stolen, and your name could get taken off the list.
*Disclaimer: I am not encouraging or promoting illegal activity. These strategies are only mentioned in the context of SHTF situations where your survival is on the line.
4 Know When to Resist
I’ve heard many preppers say, “If it is time to bury your guns, then it is time to use them.”
They argue that if the authorities come to take your gun, it is your patriotic duty to start shooting… It is worth risking your life to stop even one of the soldiers.
I personally disagree with this logic. Getting yourself killed isn’t going to do society any good. It is just going to leave society with one less person to stand up against martial law.
And you most certainly will get killed if you start shooting at soldiers with superior technology who are lined up outside of your door or cordoned neighborhood.
Throughout history, the groups succeeding in resisting and overthrowing martial law have organized and planned and NOT randomly shot at the first authority figure to show up.
Resistance involved organized cache and distribution systems and planned attacks. So think twice before you plan to shoot at anyone who comes for your gun.
As one member of the SurvivalistBoards forum said in this thread,
“When you have a Bradley with a Chain Gun in your front yard during a cordon search is probably NOT the best time to go to war…You’ve ALREADY LOST at that point.
A week BEFORE or AFTER the Bradley shows up…, if you should know where the local police commandant lives and how he gets to work….that might be a better time to put your life on the line….”
Assume They Will Find Your Guns
Remember, prepping means taking steps to prepare for the WORST POSSIBLE SITUATION. We don’t know what will happen in a SHTF situation, so can only do our best (and what is within our means) to prepare.
Prepping for the worst means that you should assume they will find your guns, and you will be left without a firearm for protection.
To prep for this situation, be ready to bug out, build your own DIY weapons, or group with others for survival. You always need a Plan B (and C, D, E…)!
“Tot”enham High Road” (C” BY-NC 2.0) by Nicobobinus
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I was there when that ladies gun was taken by a California Highway Patrol officer. She was a crazy old lady waiving her gun around. He did the right thing taking it from her before she accidentally shot someone with it. We went door to door evacuating folks, but we were not confiscating weapons from anyone. My team even came across a guy with all his rifles and did not take a single one. The NRA, of which I am a life member, made a big deal over this old lady getting tackled and having her pistol taken. Im sorry, but you just don’t waive a gun at a police officer like that and think nothing is going to happen. She is fortunate she was not shot.
Thanks Gman, good to hear the other side of the story.
All the cops there she be in jail. They should not have entered the house. she had here hand around the revolvers cylinder, how is she going to shoot anyone. They also specifically asked to see the pistol. Bullies!!
“Patricia Konie, a New Orleans resident”
She was in New Orleans, what was California Highway Patrol doing there? I think you confused her with someone else.
Look up young man never look down
The constitution already has been put on hold during a crisis once already. The covid-19 shut down. And now they’re planning a second covid 19 shut down.
I would never fire on an American soldier unless he was trying to shoot and kill me.
I agree but I still remember Ohio and history (tin soldiers and Nixon coming. ..4 dead in ohio.) I also am a veteran.
i was an american soldier in Vietnam, and I was a rescue worker at Katrina. I saw storm troopers of some kind breaking in and stealing not only guns, but everything that wasn’t tied down. The dirty SOB’s wouldn’t even sell me gas, ad tried to take my money. I was fetching people off roof tops and delivering water while they were thieving. I made up my mind to fight to the death (theirs) if they ever show up at my door. I have the equipment to do it with. Their body armor won’t help them. I’d rather die on my feet than live on my knees.
It’s all well and fine to blindly “support our troops” and “back up the blue” until they are breaking into your home at zero dark with auto mp5s and ninja suits on. Screaming at you and shooting your dog or maybe your pregnant wife in the process. Whatever , they aren’t anyone special in my eyes and anyone who works for the enemy , Is the enemy. Your are either for freedom or for tyranny ,there are no grey areas.
We are American citizens, and if they are not for us, then they are against us. They are the Traitors not us!
keep your guns and store the ammo for that dreadful day when you might have to use them but don’t tip your hand and give them a reason to come and get them obey the laws don’t make threats and hopefully one one will be kicking in your door
Hey, copper. What makes your life more special than mine? She has a RIGHT to defend herself, even from a JBT like you. I respect the person, but I will NEVER respect the badge.
For plan B, make a bow and arrow from flexible PVC pipe. It is durable and should work. I do not have one but pinterest has the video
Buy one already made at “Upshot Archery” (on ETSY). Tommy makes some great stuff.
If they are taking guns internet will be down as well. So plans to get online and build things are not really something you can count on either
Exactly – this is why we prepare beforehand!
The best way to be prepared is to prevent telling about your plans on social media. You can get ideas from friends,here and books, but modify for your situation and do not spread or speak about it to strangers or social media. Always do background checks on anyone who wants to volutarily join in with you. You can go out and seek others to join you, but be careful, and never trust any person who asked to join you without you seeking them out first.
A pointer or two. When hiding in your house, think high. Make something in the walls 8-10 feet off the ground(not in the attic, they’ll search there). Dogs can’t sniff that high. As for outside, sheds are worthless. They’ll just tear them down if they have to. Again, think high. Take off some siding and build storage 8-10 feet high.
Hide weapons and supplies at a bug out destination! Bury your weapons in waterproof tubes near identifiable trees.
Could be prudent under certain circumstances – read more about survival caches.
Like I heard a long time ago,,,Go out shooting…I would have to have a gun to do that… I’m behind the times…
In a Martial Law situation soldiers and law enforcement that haven’t already deserted aren’t your friends. Being weaponless leaves you at the mercy of anyone that wants to take what you have. These read flag laws that the DOJ has quietly implemented is just the beginning of Martial Law
This needs to be updated. As of 2006 (after Katrina) Congress passed a law called the DISASTER RECOVERY PERSONAL PROTECTION ACT of 2006. The law was intended to prevent the government from seizing legally-owned firearms during the time of a disaster. It was incorporated as an amendment to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2007, and signed into law on October 4, 2006.
I had a Defense Industry employer who decided to start checking cars in the Parking Lot for whatever with a dog. They would always start with the VP and other Directors out front so they looked like they were being fair. Apparently someone put some Cayenne pepper on these cars rims or axles but damn did that dog yelp in pain. No more sniffing dogs. Apparently the destruction of the sniffer on what was supposedly a $10k dog wasn’t worth the price of admission.
that would work…