Defining broadly public insurrection as impeding the workings of US government or its officials, threatening them, taking up violence against them, or trying to overthrow the government, are there any specific such criminal statutes and if so what are their associated penalties if any? Are there multiple such statutes?

1 Answer 1


There are literally hundreds of such laws. Most of them (perhaps all, if we exclude firearms-related crimes in Title 26) are contained in Title 18 of the US Code, part I. The problem is that your definition of "public insurrection" is too broad, since it would include lying to federal agents (a crime), insofar as the reason for 18 USC 1001 is to prevent impeding federal investigations by giving them false information. Assaulting a federal agent impedes government and is a crime. There is pretty much a federal version of any state-level crime of violence. There is the riot act, and a specific law against insurrection and rebellion. Chapter 115 is probably the most relevant: this is where the various "overthrowing the government" laws are.

  • 2
    I do love the irony of a country born over rebelling against their government having a law against someone rebelling the government.
    – SGR
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 10:26
  • While I agree with you, isn't that true of almost all countries?
    – user9872
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 18:44

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