Army Corps of Engineers Considers Reform of Second Amendment Rules

By Dean Weingarten

Army Corps of Engineers
Army Corps of Engineers
Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)- After President Trump won the election in November, I explained how his administration could eliminate gun free zones in the Army Corps of Engineers. One of the options to do this was with a court-ordered settlement agreed to by both sides.

Another method available to President Trump is a negotiated Court settlement. The ban on possession of weapons on land administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is being challenged in the Courts. Court cases in both the Ninth Circuit and in the Eleventh Circuit are active. A Trump administration could order the Corps of Engineers to negotiate a Court sanctioned settlement that would prohibit the Corps of Engineers from ever violating the Second Amendment again. Such Court sanctioned agreements have long been used to create law without congressional approval, law that is impossible to remove by regulatory means.

It appears that approach may be underway. From the washingtonpost.com:

The 9th Circuit case was ready for oral argument on March 6. But on March 2, the Corps filed a request to remove the oral argument from the calendar and to put the case into mediation. The motion explained: “The Army Corps of Engineers is reconsidering the firearms policy challenged in this case, as well as plaintiffs’ requests for permission to carry firearms on Army Corps property. This reconsideration has the potential to fully resolve plaintiffs’ objections.”

This does not show the Trump administration is behind this change of heart on the part of the Corps. But it seems likely a reversal of policy that occurs a couple of months after a change of administration might be related to that change. Mediation at the Ninth Circuit would allow both parties to agree on a settlement. Then the Court would approve of the agreement.  Most mediation would be considered certain once both parties approve. But in a politically charged circuit such as the Ninth, such an approach may not be guaranteed.  From uscorts.gov:

For over twenty years, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has operated a court mediation and settlement program. During that time, experienced and skilled circuit mediators have worked cooperatively with attorneys and their clients to resolve a variety of disputes. The disputes mediated range from the most basic contract and tort actions to the most complex cases involving important issues of public policy. The mediators have even successfully resolved death penalty cases. No case is too big or too small for mediation in the court's program.

The court offers this service, at no cost, because it helps resolve disputes quickly and efficiently and can often provide a more satisfactory result than can be achieved through continued litigation. Each year the mediation program facilitates the resolution of hundreds of appeals.

The Ninth Circuit claims that what goes on in mediation is strictly confidential and that mediators are shielded from the rest of the court. But what if the Court abhors the result of a mediation process? What if the Court finds the results of a mediation involves fulfilling a campaign promise of a President that the Court finds ideologically distasteful? Would the Court then approve of such a settlement?

We may find out. I do not believe the court is bound by law to approve of settlements reached during mediation. Courts might find a settlement violates a law or the Constitution, though I am not aware of such a case. Legal experts, feel free to inform us.

Refusing to order a settlement agreed to by both parties would be unusual. But we live in unusual times. Who would have thought that a Ninth Circuit Court would order that a simple, temporary, executive order on vetting visitors from war-torn lands, be halted pending judicial review?

The lines between policy making and political review in the courts seem thin indeed.

In the case of Elizabeth Nesbitt, et al v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, et al, we may find out if that line will be crossed when it comes to the Second Amendment and the Corps of Engineers.

update: The sister case in the 11th Circuit, GeorgiaCarry.Org, Inc, et al v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, et al, has also been sent to mediation, as of March 7th, 2017, according to californiarighttocarry.org.   The question is, are both cases being mediated at the same time, and will the results be national? It seems likely.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

About Dean Weingarten;

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

  • 14 thoughts on “Army Corps of Engineers Considers Reform of Second Amendment Rules

    1. Why and hell do all these agencies think they can do whatever they want when it comes to the rights of the people? There should be an Amendment to the Constitution that says any person or agencies that try to take law abiding citizens rights away from them should be held accountable and relieved of their duties. I’m just saying.

      1. @Lee, Franklin Delano Roosevelt talked Congress into giving up its legislative authority. FDR wanted to institute programs to solve the Great Depression. FDR got Congress to create agencies by passing an “Enabling” Act. That Congressional “Enabling” Act included the so called authority to make rules that have the force and effect of law. Now, we have lots of Congressionally created agencies all making rules that have the force and effect of law.
        Obama was a master of calling up his Agency head, telling that agency head that he (Obama) wanted a rule and what the rule would say. Then the agency would institute that rule with the force and effect of law. Tyranny at its finest, but with an American twist.
        Congress loves it because the agencies take the blame. The problem is that it is unconstitutional because “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States…” See Article I section 1.
        Please note that the word shall (in the law) mean obligatory.

    2. Its a trick. The Army Corps of Engineers does not want a law passed in hopes that President Trump will be gone in four years, then back to business as usual. Sticking it to the little guy. The carp they the Corps and courts get away with. It’s amazing.

    3. ….a most insulting part of the statement is…..”…… on Army Corps property.” The Army Corps. property belongs to “We the PEOPLE” ,,,not exclusively owned by the Army Corp as they failed to mention or remember!!

      1. Thank you for pointing out that the Corp of Engineers does not own property. We the people own the wild lands administered by the Corps and other agencies.. The Federal government forgets itself.

      2. Yup. The Corp do nnot OWN the land, as such “ownership” is prohibited by the Constitution. They do manage… or purport to manage. Howeve,r they CAN, and ought, manage it under the terms laid out by the Constitution… that would mean the right to arms on those lands is inviolate.
        And Mr. Trump CAN, and perhaps should, take care of this. Worst case, he could remove the current chief and replace him with one more apt to uphold the Constitution.

    4. President Trump is the new Commander-in-Chief, why doesn’t he just order the Corps of Engineers to change their policy and withdraw their defense to the court challenges. It is not like the Corps of Engineers would have a choice when the C in C ordered them to do something.

      1. Yup. The Corp do nnot OWN the land, as such “ownership” is prohibited by the Constitution. They do manage… or purport to manage. Howeve,r they CAN, and ought, manage it under the terms laid out by the Constitution… that would mean the right to arms on those lands is inviolate.
        And Mr. Trump CAN, and perhaps should, take care of this. Worst case, he could remove the current chief and replace him with one more apt to uphold the Constitution.

        1. The Corps of Engineers are all soldiers. Soldiers are required to follow the CinC’s orders. Trump need only rely on his authority as CinC to order them what to do or what not to do. It would be like the Bn Cmdr ordering a platoon leader to go out on a road march. The CinC’s orders to his troops need not even be written. Trump could turn to whom ever the Corps of Engineers’ Commander is between bites at breakfast and order him to stop interfering with the Second Amendment on the Peoples’ land that is only controlled by the Corps of Engineers or his next assignment would be at Ft Greeley!

          1. WB,

            “The Corps of Engineers are all soldiers.”

            Guess what smart guy….USA Corp of Engineers is FAR from being “all soldiers”. C of E is primarily GS and WG fedgov CIVILIAN employees. Of course you will refuse to acknowledge you are wrong. As not a soul commenting here can hold a candle to your intellect. Correct ?

            Do you do ANYTHING in your life besides troll at Ammoland spreading the gospel of life according to Bill ?

            1. @Dan, so many insults in a single post. Where ever shall I start?
              As to the population of the CE, the Corps of Engineers includes regular army, National Guard, and Army Reserve personnel. But the population of the CE does not change the chain-of-command.
              As to intellect: jealous?
              As to doing anything else: I ranch. I do things when I feel like doing them. But in a more general sense, I have done about everything that ever wanted to do militarily, educationally, and financially. How about you?
              As to Ammoland: I have friends here. What are you the website attendance police? Am I impeding your agenda some how?

      2. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has approximately 37,000 dedicated Civilians and Soldiers delivering engineering services to customers in more than 130 countries worldwide.

        The POTUS has to be careful how such things are accomplished. For example, if done by Executive Order, that could be reversed by the next sitting President. The same with simply giving the soldiers who work in the ACE. The next POTUS could simply give new orders.

        We want these things done right the first time, and in such a way that the loonies can’t stop it with some rogue judge interfering. We saw what happened with the immigration bill which was a common sense, non-discriminatory, and temporary action, which the loons were able to halt.

        We MUST get a conservative on the Supreme Court if we hope to change the direction our country has been taking for a number of decades, not just regarding guns, but the entire Constitution.

        1. Well, DaveW The CinC could give the Corps of Engineers orders now and go after what ever “things done right” that you are writing about later. What do you contemplate would stop a rogue Federal judge from interfering?

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