Two congressional Democrats introduced legislation to prevent “private paramilitary activity” in the United States.
“Following the anniversary of the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) introduced the Preventing Private Paramilitary Activity Act, legislation that would create a federal prohibition on paramilitary groups through civil and criminal enforcement,” a press release stated.
“The prohibition would hold individuals liable who directly engage in certain types of conduct, including intimidating state and local officials, interfering with government proceedings, pretending to be law enforcement, and violating people’s constitutional rights, while armed and acting as part of a private paramilitary organization,” it continued.
A pair of Democratic lawmakers introduced bills Thursday to prevent private paramilitary activity in the U.S. https://t.co/SD7V5b4JfY
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) January 11, 2024
The press release from Sen. Ed Markey reads:
The legislation creates different tiers of criminal penalties based on whether violations result in injury or property damage; provides harsher penalties for repeat offenders; and allows for a probationary sentence for first-time offenders. It also creates civil remedies by authorizing the Department of Justice to seek injunctive relief against paramilitary activity, and by creating a private right of action for individuals harmed by paramilitary activity to seek injunctive relief and/or damages. The legislation contains clear exceptions for activities such as historic reenactments, state-sanctioned trainings, and veterans’ parades.
Specifically, the legislation would prohibit the following dangerous conduct:
- publicly patrolling, drilling, or engaging in harmful or deadly paramilitary techniques
- interfering with or interrupting government proceedings
- interfering with the exercise of someone else’s constitutional rights
- falsely assuming the functions of law enforcement and asserting authority over others
- training to engage in such behavior
Unconstitutional. It is in the 2nd amendment to be able to form militias. https://t.co/QW9eD51lm5
— JOSE SANTIAGO, KC1OXZ (@PdoggJoe) January 12, 2024
The Washington Times reports:
The lawmakers say a federal law is necessary to prevent another Jan. 6-style attack on the Capitol by “white supremacists” who are tied to “private paramilitary actors.” Although each state has various laws for private paramilitary groups, Mr. Raskin and Mr. Markey said the laws are often outdated, underenforced or ignored.
“Three years ago, white supremacists affiliated with paramilitary organizations stormed the U.S. Capitol, shattering windows, walls, and the families of five U.S. Capitol police officers,” Mr. Markey said.
“Private paramilitary actors, such as the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, pose a serious threat to democracy and the rule of law, and we must create new prohibitions on their unauthorized activities that interfere with the exercise of people’s constitutional rights. The forces of bigotry, hatred, and violent extremism must be stopped for the sake of our democracy.”
Mr. Raskin said the militia groups are running amok in America.
“Patrolling neighborhoods, impeding law enforcement and storming the U.S. Capitol, private paramilitary groups like the Oath Keepers, the Three Percenters and the Proud Boys are using political violence to intimidate our people and threaten democratic government and the rule of law,” he said. “Our legislation makes the obvious but essential clarification that these domestic extremists’ paramilitary operations are in no way protected by our Constitution.”
Asked whether the legislation targeted right-wing groups, Mr. Raskin said the legislation was not written with a particular ideological viewpoint.
Read the full proposed legislation HERE.
Just to remind Democrats, the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution reads:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”