In violation of federal Posse Comitatus Act, Fort Drum MPs hand over lawful Kentucky gun owner to NYS Police for unconstitutional prosecution

December 12, 2019 – WATERTOWN, N.Y. – When a Kentucky delivery driver departed for upstate New York’s Fort Drum military base in mid-November to deliver telephone poles, he never thought the installation’s military police (MPs) would betray him for simply exercising his fundamental right to keep and bear arms.

“I travel to numerous military bases across the country to deliver needed materials,” the delivery driver said. 2AWNY.COM has opted not to disclose his identity to avoid further unconstitutional reprisal by federal and/or state authorities. “In most instances, I’ve carried a lawfully owned pistol for self-defense as I drive long distances through unfamiliar places. At each military base entrance checkpoint, I’ve always voluntarily advised MPs of my firearm, and they’ve simply asked that I responsibly store it off base property while completing my delivery. I’ve always complied and never had a problem, until I arrived at Fort Drum the morning of Friday, November 15, 2019.”

On the aforementioned date, Fort Drum personnel substantially deviated from the standard firearms storage request issued to the delivery driver by every other military base he’s visited on official business. Rather than advise responsible firearm storage off base property like most other military installations, a soldier stationed at Fort Drum’s Gas Alley Gate instead reported the driver’s voluntary firearm disclosure to a Department of the Army Security Guard (DASG) officer. The DASG officer then ordered the driver to turn off his vehicle, lock his doors, and enter the nearest access control point building. The driver complied, and base personnel dispatched MPs to the checkpoint.

Upon arrival, MPs confiscated the delivery driver’s unloaded firearm that was stored in a locked box on the passenger seat of his vehicle. Fort Drum personnel then directly summoned New York State Police to the base, who took possession of the driver’s lawfully owned firearm and unconstitutionally charged him with criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree under New York State Penal Law § 265.01. This was done because the driver does not possess a New York State pistol permit, which is impossible for him to secure because New York State refuses to issue permits to non-residents.

Upon completion of his telephone pole delivery, the driver was unconstitutionally prosecuted by the office of Jefferson County District Attorney Kristyna S. Mills, a Republican who apparently doesn’t support citizens’ fundamental right to keep and bear arms. Assistant District Attorney Sarah A. Decker and Assistant Public Defender Carrie M. Mason bullied the delivery driver into accepting an amended charge of disorderly conduct under New York State Penal Law § 240.20, telling him “we’re doing you a favor” by not prosecuting under the unconstitutional weapons possession charge originally issued by the New York State Police.

The delivery driver was forced to return to his home state of Kentucky on Friday, November 15, 2019 after having his Second Amendment civil rights violated by Fort Drum MPs, New York State Police, and the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office. He was forced to surrender his lawfully owned self-defense pistol for destruction by government agents and was extorted to the tune of $125.00 by New York State. Additionally, the criminal weapon possession violation originally charged against the driver will potentially limit his future employment opportunities, as such a charge will likely appear on an FBI background check, thus restricting his access to military bases in order to make deliveries.

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This government-sponsored episode of civil rights molestation results in substantial legal violations on the part of federal, state, and county government agents, to include:

Violation of the Federal Posse Comitatus ActThe Posse Comitatus Act “outlaws the willful use of any part of the Army or Air Force to execute the [civilian] law unless expressly authorized by the Constitution or an act of Congress.” The Act was passed in 1878 to guard against usurpation of the nation’s republican form of government via overreach by federal forces. Express statutory exceptions to the Act include legislation allowing the President to use military force to suppress insurrection or enforce federal authority (10 U.S.C. Sections 251-255) and laws permitting the Department of Defense to provide federal, state, and local police with information, equipment, and personnel (10 U.S.C. Section 271-284).

Neither of the above exceptions allow MPs to directly participate in the enforcement of an unconstitutional state gun control scheme by disarming a law-abiding civilian at a military base entrance, directly contacting state police to come and charge that civilian under such a scheme, and then confining that civilian to a military access control point building until state police arrive to enforce such a gun control scheme against said civilian. All of these actions were taken by soldiers at Fort Drum on the morning of November 15, 2019, and yet none of them are expressly authorized by the Constitution, an act of Congress, or any of the express statutory exceptions to the Posse Comitatus Act.

Furthermore, the United States Marine Corps notes that Fort Drum operates under what’s called “proprietorial interest,” which means New York State retains all jurisdiction over the installation, and Fort Drum MPs therefore have a fairly limited jurisdictional focus centered on enforcing the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) against military personnel. Therefore, the Second Amendment civil rights violations that occurred on the base on November 15, 2019 would not have been possible without Fort Drum MPs unlawfully conspiring with state police to enforce an unconstitutional civilian statute, as described earlier. For the above reasons, MPs violated the federal Posse Comitatus Act on the morning of Friday, November 15, 2019. This subjects them to fines, imprisonment for not more than two years, or both.

Enforcement of an Unconstitutional State Statute – As a result of the events that occurred on November 15, 2019 at Fort Drum’s Gas Alley Gate, base MPs, New York State Police, and the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office all participated in the enforcement of New York State’s unconstitutional pistol permit regime against a non-resident, law-abiding citizen. As outlined in Libertarian Party of Erie County v. Cuomo, a case currently pending decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and one step away from U.S. Supreme Court review, the state pistol permit regime clearly violates the U.S. Constitution because it offends the Second and Fourteenth Amendments, perpetuates overly subjective “good moral character,” “good cause,” and “proper cause” requirements in order to exercise one’s fundamental right to keep and bear arms, and applies the “intermediate scrutiny” legal standard of review to Second Amendment restrictions when the “strict scrutiny” standard is most appropriate. Because MPs, civilian law enforcement officers, and district attorneys enjoy wide discretion regarding if, when, and how they enforce and apply the law, all of the aforementioned government enforcers willfully and voluntarily violated the Second Amendment civil rights of a Kentucky delivery driver at Fort Drum on November 15, 2019.

Conspiracy Against a Citizen’s Constitutional Rights18 U.S. Code § 241 states “if two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same…they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.” As outlined previously, Fort Drum MPs, New York State Police, and the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office voluntarily conspired to enforce the state’s unconstitutional pistol permit regime against a non-resident, law-abiding citizen on Friday, November 15, 2019. Therefore, all of the aforementioned government enforcers willfully violated the Second Amendment civil rights of said citizen, have thus violated 18 U.S. Code § 241, and are subject to the relevant penalties under the statute.

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“The predilection among agents of the state to disarm every law-abiding citizen possible is an infectious disease running rampant across New York State,” 2AWNY.COM Civil Rights Advocate Steve Felano said. “New York’s civilian disarmament flu is apparently so infectious among government enforcers, that even federal troops at Fort Drum, who’ve spent too much time exposed to Andrew Cuomo’s autocratic empire, have suffered its deranging effects. The sad truth is the events that transpired at Fort Drum’s Gas Alley Gate the morning of Friday, November 15, 2019 amount to America’s standing army disarming the civilian population. This is precisely the type of tyrannical and unconstitutional activity that this nation’s founding generation enacted the Second Amendment to guard against. Such government overreach will not be tolerated.”

2AWNY.COM is taking immediate action to ensure no additional civilians are abused by government agents the way a law-abiding Kentucky delivery driver was just one month ago at Fort Drum. Such action includes:

  • Preparation for a potential lawsuit pursuant to the federal Posse Comitatus Act, Conspiracy Against Rights, and other civil rights violations that occurred at the Fort Drum military base on Friday, November 15, 2019;
  • A website (2AWNY.COM/DRUM) and hotline (844-922-1369) that civilians can use to confidentially report similar Second Amendment civil rights violations at Fort Drum and other military bases across the country;
  • A formal, written request to Jefferson County District Attorney Kristyna S. Mills to fully reverse and dismiss all charges and fees lodged against the Kentucky delivery driver, return his lawfully owned firearm, and issue a written, public statement committing not simply to reduction of charges under similar circumstances, but to full non-enforcement of the unconstitutional state pistol permit regime against non-resident civilians who travel through New York State with a firearm lawfully owned in their home state and consistent with federal law;
  • A formal, written request to Fort Drum Garrison Commander Col. Jeffery P. Lucas that he formally rebuke the civil rights violations committed on his base by MPs on November 15, 2019, and issue a written, public order to all Fort Drum MPs directing them to immediately cease all involvement with civilian entities relevant to the enforcement of unconstitutional civilian gun control edicts;
  • A formal, written notice to New York State Police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett advising him of the civil rights violations that occurred at Fort Drum on November 15, 2019, and requesting that he issue a written, public order to the officers under his command to cease enforcing the unconstitutional state pistol permit regime against non-resident civilians who travel through New York State with a firearm lawfully owned in their home state and consistent with federal law;
  • A formal, written notice to U.S. Representatives Elise Stefanik (NY-21) and James Comer (KY-1) advising both of the civil rights violations forced on a Kentucky resident at Fort Drum on November 15, 2019, and requesting that they encourage President Donald Trump to issue an order as Commander-in-Chief to all U.S. base commanders that would avoid similar civil rights violations in the future; and
  • A formal, written request to President Donald Trump that he issue an order as Commander-in-Chief -to all U.S. base commanders clearly articulating that military police are strictly forbidden from involvement with civilian entities in the enforcement of unconstitutional civilian gun control edicts.

Additionally, 2AWNY.COM encourages citizens to directly contact the government agents outlined below to express their personal concern regarding the Second Amendment civil rights violations that have occurred at Fort Drum:

  • Fort Drum Garrison Commander Col. Jeffery P. Lucas: (315) 772-6666 and [email protected]
  • New York State Police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett: 518-457-6554 and [email protected]
  • Jefferson County District Attorney Kristyna S. Mills: 315-785-3053 and Email
  • U.S. Representative Elise Stefanik: 315-782-3150 and Email
  • U.S. Representative James Comer: 1-800-328-5629 and Email
  • President Donald Trump: 202-456-6213 and Email

“It’s quite clear that the New York State pistol permit regime at the center of this controversy at Fort Drum is unconstitutional,” Attorney James Ostrowski, who overturned New York State’s first ever SAFE Act conviction, said. “Military personnel do not have the constitutional authority to directly insert themselves into the enforcement activity of a state’s civilian gun control edict, as it appears Fort Drum military police did on November 15, 2019. Additionally, given the numerous civil rights infringements generated by New York State’s pistol permit regime, state and county government agents shouldn’t be enforcing it either. The government parties relevant to this debacle should voluntarily reverse the damage they’ve done to this law-abiding delivery driver from Kentucky, and immediately put clear institutional guardrails in place to ensure a similar instance does not occur in the future.”

“I’m extremely disappointed that Republican Jefferson County District Attorney Kristyna S. Mills made the poor decision to place her government paycheck and fealty to Albany’s autocratic civilian disarmament industrial complex above safeguarding the Second Amendment civil rights of a law-abiding citizen,” Erie County Libertarian Party Chair and NY-27 Congressional Candidate Duane Whitmer said. “To make this situation right, Mills must dismiss all charges and fees lodged against the Kentucky delivery driver, return his firearm, and publicly declare she’ll never prosecute someone like this again. Should she fail to do so, I’ll actively work alongside the liberty-minded residents of Jefferson County to replace Mills with a public servant that does more than pay cheap lip service to the Second Amendment. Jefferson County deserves a district attorney that demonstrates true respect for the Second Amendment through actual non-enforcement of unconstitutional gun control laws. Should Mills fail to correct this situation, I’ll ensure that voters remember it, and that she pays for her treason at the ballot box.”

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To learn more about any of the above, please contact Steve Felano at (518) 852-1863 or [email protected].

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2AWNY is a force multiplier for the numerous Second Amendment civil rights advocacy enterprises forming the backbone of Western New York’s vibrant gun culture. We act as a 2A news and information distribution, policy analysis, and organizational driver for the many interest groups seeking to defend and expand Second Amendment civil rights throughout the region. 2AWNY is dedicated to assisting in the organization, promotion, and funding of legal challenges to the unconstitutional New York State gun control regime. We seek to make Western New York the epicenter of New York State’s Second Amendment civil rights renaissance. Learn more at WWW.2AWNY.COM.