x

Houston's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Houston, Texas | KHOU.com

What is the 1807 Insurrection Act?

The 213-year-old federal law allows a president to deploy active U.S. military troops on U.S. soil to put down an insurrection or rebellion.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — One week after George Floyd was killed at the hands of Minneapolis police -- prompting a week of escalating protests and unrest across the country and the world -- President Donald Trump on Monday addressed the nation, saying that he will end the "riots and lawlessness that has spread across the country."

To do so, Trump is considering invoking the 1807 Insurrection Act.

The 213-year-old federal law allows a president to deploy active U.S. military troops on U.S. soil to put down an insurrection or rebellion.

Generally the military cannot be used for domestic law enforcement. 

This law is the exception to that rule. And is usually used when local law authorities are seen as unable to handle an uprising.

RELATED: Trump threatens to deploy US military unless states halt violent protests

The Insurrection Act has been used several times in our history but more sparingly in modern times as modern police forces have become better equipped and trained to deal with unrest. 

It was last used in 1992 during the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, but in that instance, the governor requested the president send in troops.

In recent years, governors have preferred to use National Guard forces. That’s because they are allowed to perform law enforcement duties within U.S. borders. 

'Dominate the streets'

Earlier Monday, Trump called on governors to "dominate the streets" using National Guard troops in an effort to stop protests that have turned violent and destructive in the past week.  He said if they did not do so, he would deploy U.S. military forces to do it.

"If a city or state refuses to take the actions necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them," Trump said, speaking from the White House Rose Garden Monday evening.

Minutes before Trump spoke, the sound of explosions could be heard by microphones in the White House Rose Garden as protests continue in Washington, D.C. Police were firing tear gas and flash bangs to disperse protesters before Trump's speech.

RELATED COVERAGE