Virginia Dems Aim to Criminalize “Tactical Training.” A Trap for Gun Owners?

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Virginia Democrats have put forth a bill that would strengthen current state law against “paramilitary” activity by criminalizing assemblies of persons with firearms.

The vague wording of Senate Bill No. 64 establishes that a person is “guilty of unlawful paramilitary activity, punishable as a Class 5 felony” if he so much as has the “intent” of intimidating a person or group.

The threat of SB 64 to defenders of the Second Amendment is the uncertainty of how “intent” would be decided.


At last year’s anti-gun March for Our Lives demonstration in Washington, D.C., for instance, a group of camouflage-clad counter-demonstrators held a “Patriot Picket” in which they advocated for the right to bear arms.

Could Democrats’ proposed legislation be used to target the activities of law-abiding constitutionalists, such as a Patriot Picket?

Virginia already has tough laws against paramilitary activity on the books that could plausibly be used to crack down on citizens taking a stand against an overreaching and tyrannical government. SB 64 would expand existing law and strengthen the penalties against offenders.

The text of the bill, which is subtitled “Declaring Tactical Training Illegal,” reads:


Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That § 18.2-433.2 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

§ 18.2-433.2. Paramilitary activity prohibited; penalty.

A person shall be is guilty of unlawful paramilitary activity, punishable as a Class 5 felony if he:

1. Teaches or demonstrates to any other person the use, application, or making of any firearm, explosive, or incendiary device, or technique capable of causing injury or death to persons, knowing or having reason to know or intending that such training will be employed for use in, or in furtherance of, a civil disorder; or

2. Assembles with one or more persons for the purpose of training with, practicing with, or being instructed in the use of any firearm, explosive, or incendiary device, or technique capable of causing injury or death to persons, intending to employ such training for use in, or in furtherance of, a civil disorder; or

3. Assembles with one or more persons with the intent of intimidating any person or group of persons by drilling, parading, or marching with any firearm, any explosive or incendiary device, or any components or combination thereof.

2. That the provisions of this act may result in a net increase in periods of imprisonment or commitment. Pursuant to § 30-19.1:4 of the Code of Virginia, the estimated amount of the necessary appropriation cannot be determined for periods of imprisonment in state adult correctional facilities; therefore, Chapter 854 of the Acts of Assembly of 2019 requires the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission to assign a minimum fiscal impact of $50,000. Pursuant to § 30-19.1:4 of the Code of Virginia, the estimated amount of the necessary appropriation cannot be determined for periods of commitment to the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice.

The opening sections of the bill repeat the text of existing Virginia code, with the exception that “shall be guilty” is replaced with “is guilty.”

The addition is the third section: “Assembles with one or more persons with the intent of intimidating any person or group of persons by drilling, parading, or marching with any firearm, any explosive or incendiary device, or any components or combination thereof.”

There is also the stipulation that “the provisions of this act may result in a net increase in periods of imprisonment or commitment.”

But even the first two sections, which have already been in place for years, could be abused by a determined anti-gun government.

For example, there is the language that anyone is culpable who “teaches or demonstrates to any other person the use … of any firearm … or technique capable of causing injury or death to persons, knowing or having reason to know or intending that such training will be employed for use in, or in furtherance of, a civil disorder.”

It is not difficult to imagine that language being used to justify taking action against anyone who teaches someone else how to use a gun. While the law establishes that the teaching must be done for use in or in furtherance of “civil disorder,” the danger lies in who gets to decide what constitutes “civil disorder.” Is civil disorder advocating on behalf of the Second Amendment? Against high taxes? Against the LGBTQ agenda?

Additionally, the law says that a person who teaches another how to use a firearm is guilty of facilitating paramilitary activity even for having “reason to know” the “intent” of the learner.

In short, there is sufficient legal leeway in both existing law and the proposed legislation to justify imprisonment of anyone who gets on the government’s wrong side.

Virginia legislators intend to bring SB 64 up for debate in the Senate in January of 2020.

The Founders knew from personal experience that a “well-regulated militia” is key to keeping a nation free from threats foreign and (especially) domestic.

Like many big government undertakings that are ostensibly for our own good, anti-paramilitary laws claim to protect us from domestic terrorists while removing our ability to defend ourselves from the people we should really be worried about.

 Image: InkkStudios via iStock / Getty Images Plus

Luis Miguel is a writer whose journalistic endeavors shed light on the Deep State, the immigration crisis, and the enemies of freedom. Follow his exploits on FacebookTwitterBitchute, and at luisantoniomiguel.com.

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