Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland have introduced the "Preventing Private Paramilitary Activity Act," which would prohibit groups engaging in or training for paramilitary activity. According to Raskin, the legislation "makes the obvious but essential clarification that these domestic extremists' paramilitary operations are in no way protected by our Constitution."
But Luis Valdes of Gun Owners of America tells American Family News that the bill is lacking some specifics.
"Their definition of a militia is abstract, and they use the term very loosely," he explains. "These leftists in government today … want to label private organizations, private groups who simply purchase arms and do self-defense training [as unlawful and a threat to democracy]."
The targets specified in the bill include Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, and Proud Boys – in other words, alleged "white supremacy" groups. Such groups, says Raskin, "are using political violence to intimidate our people and threaten democratic government and the rule of law." But Valdes says similar groups on the Left – like Antifa and the New Black Panthers Party – will be completely overlooked.
"There has been a weaponization of law – and that comes down to the discretion of the prosecutor," he states. "But you're seeing it becoming so polarized, so politicized that clearly that is an issue."
As Valdes points out, some militia groups have historically been necessary to bring about positive social change – he cites the Deacons for Defense in the Jim Crow South of the 1960s, which organized to fight the Ku Klux Klan; or the Korean storekeepers in South Central Los Angeles in the 1990s, who armed themselves for protection during the Rodney King riots.
"I don't think Congress needs to pass such a law. We [already] have plenty of laws out there to govern behavior that is against the United States. What this would appear to be is behavior they consider to be unacceptable.
"[But this is] part and parcel of what we've seen consistently from the Left …. They'll destroy any of our powers or opportunities as citizens, and they would deny us the very freedoms that our Founders gave us. Hopefully we'll resist that and the American people will see how bad these jokers are in regard to robbing us of our basic freedoms."
Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis (USA-Ret.)
"The groups that this act [introduced by Raskin and Markey] would be targeting? In our country's history, a lot of them were minority groups," says Valdes.
In the end, says the GOA spokesman, the Preventing Private Paramilitary Activity Act is a direct shot at the U.S. Constitution. "This act is clearly an affront and an insult to the Second Amendment," he concludes.
The Preventing Paramilitary Activity Act – introduced just days after the third anniversary of the January 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol – has been endorsed by several far-left groups, including the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection (at Georgetown University Law Center) and the Center for American Progress. Those groups cited the riots as "anti-democratic" efforts encouraged by "armed vigilantes."
1/16/2024 - Sidebar added.