Texas Lawmaker Proposes Bill to Allow Citizens to Seize Russian Ships by Force
Avast and howdy, ye hardies! If you've ever thought it would be fun to live like a pirate on the high seas, get ready to hoist the Jolly Roger. If one Texas lawmaker gets his bill passed, you might be able to do just that.
Rep. Lance Gooden from Dallas introduced a bill on February 28 that would make it legal for U.S. citizens to seize property - including yachts and planes - owned by Russian oligarchs that are on the Treasury Department's list of sanctioned Russians.
The bill is in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and starts with
To authorize the President of the United States to issue
letters of marque and reprisal for the purpose of seizing
the assets of certain Russian citizens, and for other
Obviously this bill is aimed at the Russian elite as sanctions for the invasion. Rep. Gooden released a statement on March 1 that says,
"Putin’s inner circle have planes and yachts sitting at airports and harbors all over the world. If President Biden refuses to act quickly, then it is time Congress and American citizens take matters into their own hands. Russian oligarchs must be held accountable for enabling the disgusting invasion of Ukraine.”
To get to Putin, we must first chip away at his circle.
Letters of Marque and Reprisal
What is it? It's in the U.S. Constitution and allows for private, U.S. citizens to take enemy property on behalf of the U.S. government. The letters have been used in the past - specifically during the War of 1812, but not since.
The new bill would allow "privately armed individuals and entities to seize the assets of certain Russian citizens."
The Houston Chronicle's Ariana Garcia reports that former Texas Rep. Ron Paul introduced similar legislation twice in the past -once after 9/11 and again in 2009 to combat Somali pirates. Neither of the letters were issued.
It's highly doubtful it will be successful this time either, but can you imagine if it was?