You know that governments have confiscated guns 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 prevents 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 there are plenty of other civil rights violations that are completely legal during a state of emergency. For example, during a national emergency, the government can suspend the law that bans testing of biological and chemical agents on human subjects.
The point? Better safe than sorry.
Hiding Your Guns during Normal Times vs. Martial Law
According to federal data, nearly 200,000 firearms are reported lost or stolen each year. Even if you take measures to secure your home against intruders, home invasion is still a possibility – so you must make sure 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 that the authorities would come with X-ray equipment and gun-sniffing dogs to find your guns. Others believe that confiscating guns wouldn’t be a possibility 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, which is why we always prepare ourselves for the WORST CASE SCENARIO – while simultaneously praying that it won’t actually 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 normal places – like a hidden compartment under your kitchen cabinets – isn’t going to 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 inside 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 for them 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 the best place to hide your guns during martial law is underground. Yes, authorities do 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. If authorities detect metal and start digging, they find the cable first and don’t bother to dig anymore.
Burying a gun is very problematic:
- You need to find an unobservable place that no one will bother
- The place also needs to be accessible so you can get your guns when the SHTF
- You need to protect your gun against the elements
Rather than rehashing all of this info, I really recommend reading the Backwoods Home article. The author does a great job of 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 guns safe when SHTF during martial law:
1. Have a Decoy Gun
Have a gun badly-hidden somewhere in your home. When 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 of your registered guns, this probably isn’t going to work. But if the grid is down and they don’t have access to the registers (such as after a major EMP event), then this could work.
2. Build a Gun
It is actually 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 ones you’ve got hidden underground.
One way to get your guns off the register is to report them as stolen. This 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 context of SHTF situations where your survival is on the line.
4. Know When to Resist
I’ve heard a lot of preppers say that, “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… That it is worth risking your life to stop even one of the soldiers.
I personally don’t agree 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 who have succeeding in resisting and overthrowing martial law have done so by organizing and planning and NOT randomly shooting at the first authority figure to show up.
Resistance involved organized cache and distribution systems, and planned attacks. So think twice before your “plan” is 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, to build your own DIY weapons, or to group with others for survival. You always need a Plan B (and C, D, E…)!
Do you have a strategy for martial law? Let’s hear about it! Leave a comment below.