CA Gov. Gavin Newsom: ‘We have the ability to do martial law…if necessary’

California Gov. Gavin Newsom mentioned martial law in a recent press briefing on the COVID-19 crisis. (Photo: LA Times)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom mentioned this week the possibility of invoking martial law during the COVID-19 crisis.

“If you want to establish a framework of martial law, which is ultimate authority and enforcement, we have the capacity to do that, but we are not feeling at this moment that is a necessity,” Newsom said Tuesday during a press briefing, noting that he had put the National Guard on alert.    

“I don’t want to get to the point of being alarmist, but we are scaling all of our considerations,” he continued.

A spokesperson for the governor walked back the statement a bit on Wednesday, suggesting that if Newsom enacted martial law it wouldn’t be a military-style deployment.  

“We don’t want this to be scary for people,” said  Brian Ferguson, spokesman for the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. “This is a humanitarian mission to support health and safety.”

SEE ALSO: San Jose Authorities Shut Down Gun Shop, It’s ‘Non-Essential’ Per Mayor

Martial law is only supposed to be used during “battlefield conditions” or when the U.S. is being invaded, Vermont Law School Professor Stephen Dycus told the Merced Sun-Star.  

However, governors do have great latitude in how they utilize their state militias, according to Dycus who co-authored the book, “Soldiers on the Home Front: The Domestic Role of the American Military.”

“Governors have a lot of flexibility as commander in chief of their state militias, what we now call National Guard, to use those Guard forces to do a variety of things, including law enforcement,” Dycus explained. “Our experience with martial law is limited, and the law about what martial law is or the circumstances that would justify it are unclear.”

Under a martial law scenario, one’s civil rights are suspended and the military is in charge.  Due process rights and other basic protections under the Constitution may be thrown out the window.  

We’re in the midst of a pandemic, unemployment is skyrocketing, the stock market is crashing, law enforcement is changing protocol to reduce the number of arrests, jails are letting out inmates to reduce prison populations, bars and shops and restaurants and malls are being forced to close, people are panic buying food and supplies… it’s unlikely that things will get outta hand in the near future and that the government will push the martial-law panic button, right?

Well, you tell me?

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About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Dale Kehrer March 23, 2020, 2:52 pm

    And that is what the 2A is for, abusive governments!

  • Andrew N. March 21, 2020, 2:00 pm

    In one of his recent speeches, Newsome called California a “Nation-State”. Wrong, Gavin, it’s a State, and still falls under the purview of The U.S. Constitution. I don’t recommend trying the “martial law” thing, as you are already on the shit list of every gun owner in the State. Don’t push your luck.

  • Beachhawk March 21, 2020, 3:53 am

    It never fails to amaze me how quickly great liberal civil libertarians become fascist dictators at the first opportunity. Just look at what is happening in New Orleans and the entire state of California and Mayor De Blasio in New York City is champing at the bit to impose a police state in his city. Next up will be Chicago, Philadelphia and Baltimore, all liberal Democrat strongholds.

  • Geopro March 20, 2020, 10:45 pm

    I heard a credible rumor that our newly elected female Democrat governor is considering that same thing here in Kansas!… Kansas! And we have less than 10 COV-19 cases documented and only one unfortunate death. It is my fervent hope that the Republican (thankfully) legislature brings her to heel before anything like Martial Law is forced on us.

  • Gomer March 20, 2020, 2:34 pm

    This jagoff can’t wait to try it. He might get away with it in California, but I doubt it would fly in very many other places. Never forget what School Bus Ray and friends tried in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Bloody leftists will try to relieve us of our rights based on even the lamest of excuses, but ONLY if we let them. Keep your powder dry!

  • jimmbbo March 20, 2020, 1:06 pm

    Beneath the skin of every kind, compassionate loving liberal beats the heart of a Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro or Chavez….

    • Altoids March 20, 2020, 7:45 pm

      I want to give you about 15 thumbs up for that comment.

  • Jeffrey Smith March 20, 2020, 12:28 pm

    Woah there sheeple, if you think you’re hearing nothing but the truth from the media, think again! Most of the deaths world wide are due to old age and underlying conditions. Statistically speaking, most of the elderly died from Pneumonia caused by other medical condition such as C.O.P.D. or Cancer which result in Chronic Heart Failure lead by Pneumonia.
    The truth will unfold eventually. You may be shocked.

    • Derek March 21, 2020, 11:27 am

      Covid 19 is largely survivable, but the MSM is following a narrative dictated to them, not to be deviated from. The shelter in place directive in CA for one, was enacted way too fast just for the virus at this point. It’s the first step to a “police state”, and some level of Marshall law. State and local officials are way more worried about how to maintain control of the huge masses now out of work, live paycheck at a time, buying an XBOX vs. saving a few $$’s.

      This is Not a recession, it’s a worldwide depression! Up to this point it’s mere kitten play. The next 24 months will be a slaughter of our lives to this point in time. The huge food, basic goods shortages and the supply chain for Walmart, Safeway, Fry’s, Costco, etc., now on indefinite fulfillment.

      Major civil unrest is coming fast! Looting, robbery, home invasions, auto theft, you name it. Prisons and jails now releasing criminals. Fact: 90% of the population is 3 meals away from rioting. Those starved to the point of death will Murder another for one meal!

      Selfish X 1000, always expecting the be taken care of. The rest, including myself, keeps a well stocked pantry and freezer, enough for weeks! YES, it takes planning ahead, easy enough. Covid 19 was being covered back in December!! Soon after message after message to start stocking up on food, water and basic goods!! WTF?? Zero pride, lacking of any responsibility to one’s family and self! ! ! My family and me – 100% squared away, as always.

  • Jim March 20, 2020, 11:39 am

    Oh yes! The Governor of Kalifornia would just LOVE to declare Martial Law so that he could institute Socialist type of laws like gun confiscation, rations, excess taxes, limitations of the press (such as Fox News and conservative websites, etc.

  • Ditpook March 20, 2020, 11:01 am

    Hey, as long as he’s got them organized, maybe he can have them round up all the illegal aliens.

  • Nick March 20, 2020, 9:08 am

    It is highly unlikely martial law will be invoked. At the same time, it is idiotic for people not to take the virus seriously. It’s called empathy and having some concern for your fellow citizens. This – as I write on 3/20, is going to get much worse. I’ll bet at least half the population will know someone who died when it’s all over, or know of someone who had a family member die. If your idea of “civil liberties” is its ok to flout the idea of maintaining social distancing, you’ve made my point….and the governor’s.

    • Jake March 20, 2020, 2:16 pm

      No sane person should refuse the common sense strategies for preventing spread and getting through this mess. That said, if any of these preventative measures should involve seizing firearms of those not hospitalized for “safe keeping”, it’s on like Donkey Kong.

  • Hondo March 20, 2020, 9:04 am

    This is a wet dream for the Democrats , little dictators in the making. These are people that care about power , not you. Remember this on Election Day folks.

  • Keith March 20, 2020, 8:25 am

    State militias are not the national guard dumbass reporter

  • Dr Motown March 20, 2020, 8:04 am

    It will start slowly, with “humanitarian intentions” like food delivery…..then comes the “mission creep”

  • Blasted cap March 20, 2020, 7:09 am

    Since when have politicians failed to exploit a good emergency?

    • Roger Brown March 20, 2020, 8:34 am

      If you let them, they will.

  • ES March 19, 2020, 3:53 pm

    And it starts…

    • Willy March 20, 2020, 8:33 am

      Oh, stop with your useless and needless comment like that. It is just showing you have been affected and do not know it, but you wan to be the one that says I told you so. Get off it., It’s not helpful.

    • Bobs your uncle March 22, 2020, 12:40 pm

      ominous eerie music plays in the back ground

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