Federal Anti-Hoarding Law

By Christine Margiotta
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Federal anti-hoarding laws have nothing to do with regulating people who display compulsive junk-collecting habits. Within the United States, these laws take effect under martial law so as to ensure citizens may access food in the occurrence of a catastrophic event.

History

In 1994, former President Bill Clinton released an executive order that lumped together a number of laws that could go into effect in the event of a declaration of martial law. One of the laws included in this order, number 10998, allows the federal government to sieze hoarded food supplies from both public and private sources.

Considerations

Some people may feel the federal government does not have the right to confiscate stored food in the event of a national emergency where access to food is limited. They believe the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution -- which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure -- protects their privacy and should be upheld to protect their food supplies even if other people do not have access to food in a disaster.

Debates

Federal anti-hoarding laws may not be as controversial an issue as abortion or gay marriage, but it has bee known to strike a nerve. People who store food and supplies to sustain themselves for extended periods of time in case of a serious emergency or disaster don't want to give these provisions away. They take serious issues with executive orders that, in essence, force them to give away the stores they took so much time and effort to create. On the other hand, others feel if food supplies were cut off in a cataclysmic event, those who could not otherwise stockpile food and supplies would be unjustly left to die.

About the Author

Christine Margiotta began writing in 2003. Her work has been featured on various websites. In 2004 her journalism won a New York State Associated Press Award and an Award of Excellence from the New York Newspaper Publishers Association. Margiotta received a Master of Arts in journalism from Syracuse University.