Struggling to Limit Gun Rights, Dems Want To Outlaw So-Called Private Military Activity (aka Training)

shooting range train training handgun pistol drill

With the prospects for limiting gun rights in serious trouble at the Supreme Court level these days, the civilian disarmament industry is looking for anything they find do to make life harder for civilian gun owners. They want to quit selling Lake City ammunition to civilians (even if that means screwing over the military) to make owning effective guns more expensive. Now they’re trying to target training.

Ginned up by usual suspects Edward Markey and Jamie Raskin, the “Preventing Private Paramilitary Activity Act of 2024” would, in part, add the following to the U.S. Code:

‘‘(a) OFFENSE.—It shall be unlawful to knowingly,
in a circumstance described in subsection (b), while acting
as part of or on behalf of a private paramilitary organization and armed with a firearm, explosive or incendiary device, or other dangerous weapon—
‘‘(1) publically patrol, drill, or engage in techniques capable of causing bodily injury or death;
‘‘(2) interfere with, interrupt, or attempt to
interfere with or interrupt government operations or
a government proceeding;
‘‘(3) interfere with or intimidate another person
in that person’s exercise of any right under the Constitution of the United States;
‘‘(4) assume the functions of a law enforcement
officer, peace officer, or public official, whether or
not acting under color of law, and thereby assert authority or purport to assert authority over another
person without the consent of that person; or
‘‘(5) train to engage in any activity described in
paragraphs (1) through (4).

If passed, the new law would make exceptions for police, military, and security personnel, as well as students in police and military training programs and historical reenactors. Punishment would be less than a year of probation for a first offense where nobody is hurt with stiffer penalties for people who harmed or killed somebody or is a repeat offender.

But a key question is what will be considered “unauthorized private paramilitary activity” under the law if passed. Would taking a carbine course at Gunsite Academy be banned under the new law?

The bill would also allow people sue you for violating the new prohibition if it injures them in any way…and that probably isn’t limited to actual physical injury. Something as simple as carrying a gun near a polling place in a group with other armed people, if someone felt intimidated, might trigger the law. So it opens all sorts of dangerous avenues for legal harassment and lawfare.

More concerning is  that it criminalizes any organized and armed resistance to government functions, whether those functions are constitutional or not. For example, a group of black people resisting a racist law could be criminalized under this act.

The good news is that the act is unlikely to become a law any time in 2024. It wouldn’t stand much of a chance getting through the House of Representatives, and it likely wouldn’t get past procedural hurdles in the Senate during an election year. Biden might be eager to sign it, but it has to get to his desk first.

Even if passed later (assuming Democrats take control of the House and retain the Senate as well as the White House…three big ifs), it would very likely not survive a court challenge. NYSRPA v. Bruen made it very clear that the government would have to prove that such laws existed around the time of the ratification of the Second Amendment, and the historical record is far more in favor of the right to resist tyranny.

Outside of the legal arena, a more worrying aspect of this bill is that it shows us the Democrats are preparing for the possibility of an actual insurrection or civil war. They know that they’re doing things and planning more to limit rights and freedoms sufficiently that it that could inspire people to actually take up arms.

This appears to be a move to head that off at the pass, to the extent that’s possible. We should all be very concerned with where that sort of thinking ends.


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