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Why Guy: Why has there not been a declaration of martial law if we've been asked to stay at home?

Steve Rath asks: "How can they enforce shelter in place without declaring martial law? It is against the constitution isn't it? Just asking for a friend."

SACRAMENTO, Calif — Today's Why Guy question from Steve Rath.

"How can they enforce shelter in place without declaring martial law? It is against the constitution isn't it? Just asking for a friend."

Steve, a stay-at-home order, which California is under right now, is a firm request to practice social distancing and to travel only on essential business. There is no criminal sanction for violation. Law enforcement can stop and ask you what you're doing, but not arrest you. It's hard to enforce. A misdemeanor, at most.

Martial law is a different deal. That's the government ordering the military to control the streets and it's the suspension of many of our rights as citizens. We have seen the military dispatched in certain situations of late, but it's in helping to distribute food and transportation. If some form of chaos ensues down the road, you might see the military called in but only to support local law enforcement efforts.

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