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Democrats unveil plan to ban militias

Protesters storm the Capitol and halt a joint session of the 117th Congress. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
January 31, 2024

Democrat lawmakers have proposed a bill to ban private militia and paramilitary groups from operating in the United States.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) introduced the “Preventing Private Paramilitary Activity Act” legislation following the three-year anniversary of the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Under the guise of preventing another event like the Capitol Hill protest on Jan. 6, the proposed legislation introduced by Democrat lawmakers would prevent private militias and paramilitary groups from “publicly patrolling, drilling, or engaging in harmful or deadly paramilitary techniques,” “interfering with the exercise of someone else’s constitutional rights,” “interfering with or interrupting government proceedings,” “falsely assuming the functions of law enforcement and asserting authority over others,” and “training to engage in such behavior.”

The bill proposed by Markey and Raskin defines a paramilitary group as “any group of 3 or more persons associating under a command structure for the purpose of functioning in public or training to function in public as a combat, combat support, law enforcement, or security services unit.”

READ MORE: Video: Over 200 FBI agents infiltrated Jan 6 crowd, GOP Rep says

While Raskin told The Washington Times that the legislation aimed at preventing private militia and paramilitary groups from operating in the United States was not written with a political bias toward certain groups, reported that the Democrat lawmakers did not mention any of the left-wing organizations that engaged in violence during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests. Instead, the lawmakers repeatedly directed their comments toward conservative groups or organizations that are typically linked with conservative individuals.

“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,” Markey stated in the bill’s news release. “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.”