(RightWing.org) – Organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) have targeted militia movements, accusing them of operating under a “warped interpretation” of their historical and constitutional authority. The SPLC and other left-leaning organizations readily conceded that these groups are declining in number but continue raising alarm bells about the movement’s so-called “real-world activities.” A couple of top Democratic lawmakers recently appeared to take the bait and are taking aim at militia group activities.
On January 11, Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) issued a press release detailing his introduction of a bill targeting certain militia group activity. If the measure passes, the Preventing Private Paramilitary Activity Act of 2024 will amend Title 18 of the United States Code.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) introduced a companion bill (HR6981) in the House. Ten Democrats co-sponsored the proposed legislation, including radicals like Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY). As one might expect, no Republicans backed the measure.
All 50 states have laws regulating paramilitary groups. The proposed measure aims to build on those existing statutes to create a unified federal approach to these groups by codifying a list of prohibited/unauthorized activities, which includes criminal and civil enforcement mechanisms.
The bill’s legislative overview advises that the proposed changes to Title 18 don’t prohibit membership in or association with paramilitary groups. Instead, it would update federal law to “hold [members] liable if they [participate] in certain types of conduct while armed” and acting as a member of a private militia organization/group.
Prohibited acts under the measure include five types of “dangerous conduct” performed by paramilitary groups.
- Interrupting or interfering with government proceedings;
- Falsely assuming the duties of law enforcement agencies and asserting authority over other citizens;
- Interfering with other citizens’ exercise of their constitutionally protected rights;
- Engaging in deadly paramilitary exercises or patrolling public property;
- Training to participate in any of those activities.
The proposed legislation would create different levels of criminal penalties based on whether property damage or injuries to individuals resulted from prohibited activities. Likewise, it would provide probation sentences for first offenders and harsher penalties for repeat offenders.
The suggested changes to federal law would also provide civil remedies for infractions. For instance, it would authorize Justice Department officials to seek injunctive relief against paramilitary groups engaging in prohibited activity. Similarly, private citizens harmed by militia groups’ activities could seek injunctive relief and damages.
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