Monday, September 23, 2019

Rather Like the County Militia

9/16/19 Lowering the Bar:
Until August 30, adult Californians who refused to join a posse could be fined up to $1,000 under section 150 of the state’s penal code. But on that date, the governor signed SB 192, so that requirement is now a thing of the past.
You can still join a posse voluntarily, of course, you just can’t be forced to do it....
Today, of course, we have ginormous police forces who are very, very, very, very heavily armed and often quite eager to use those arms, but until pretty recently such a thing did not exist. If there was a problem that took more than one county sheriff to solve, he had to go out and get people to help him, which he did by exercising the “power of the county,” or posse comitatus. It was the duty of every able-bodied citizen to join if necessary.
Sort of like jury duty, but with guns.
Although it sounds like great fun, there just aren’t as many opportunities to form posses as there used to be. According to the state legislature’s bill analysis, it could not find any examples of the California Posse Comitatus Act of 1872 being put to use in the last 50 years. This is a little surprising, since the list of officers who theoretically have the power to force compliance include everybody from the Highway Patrol to the marshal of the California State Fair. But maybe they didn’t know they could use it. Too late now.

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