I was noodling around on one of several news amalgamation sites that I check often. I found a hysterical article stating that a pending bill in Virginia would criminalize the teaching, discussion or instruction involving firearms, marksmanship, and martial arts of any form. The article supplied a link to the bill. I’ve said it before and will say it again do not believe any characterization of a legal decision or law that you find in the media. Here is the article followed by the proposed law.
Here is the proposed legislation. In my opinion it is a shitty law. That being said it does not outlaw the activities claimed in the original article. The activity the law seeks to ban is already illegal. Restating the desire the banned activity does nothing to aid in the prosecution of the activity.
SENATE BILL NO. 64 Offered January 8, 2020 Prefiled November 21, 2019A BILL to amend and reenact §18.2-433.2 of the Code of Virginia, relating to paramilitary activities; penalty.———-Patron– Lucas———-Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice———-
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.
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;
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.
Let’s look at the elements of the offense in this proposed law:
(1) Paramilitary Activity Prohibited: if the instructor, demonstrator knows or has reason to know. (This means that the speaker is advocating or is making a presentation to a group knowing that the advocate civil disorder).
(2) Conducts training: again knowing the intent of the students to formulate civil disorder.
(3) Marching, or demonstrating with firearms or components for the purposes of intimidation.
Here is a quick exercise. It may seem to be off topic, but I assure you it is not. Check your state law regarding narcotics paraphernalia. Now look up “head shops” in your area. Look at what they are selling. How can a store openly market items that anybody with a pulse would regard as narcotics paraphernalia?
The thousands of dollars one might drop to build an indoor growing operation has nothing to do with marijuana. No, that stuff is for growing $200 tomatoes.
The trick is never say dope in a head shop. In their pristine form the various pipes, grinders, papers, and bongs, are all novelties. The growing accessories are there to meet the needs of the urban gardener. They become narcotics paraphernalia only when dope and the device are used in the same sentence.
Apply these word games to the “paramilitary activity ban and (1) and (2) goes away. Folks are involved in sporting activity.
The third cause for action probably won’t stand because it is so vague. Is walking, marching? Does one have to have a brass band? What is a component or combination thereof? Is it a uniform, load bearing vest, bayonet, or bandoleer? How does the state prove intent to intimidate? Will a mean look do it?
This is just another example of the whores in the legislature playing to an audience. The FBI has obtained convictions against wannabe terrorists in Alabama, North Carolina and New Mexico. If the FBI can make the criminal case, it can’t be very hard under existing law.
This law shouldn’t make it out of committee. It is a bad law that it isn’t needed. What will propel it out of committee is the lack of balls and the fear of being accused of being soft on terrorism.
Anybody running a training regimen with the expressed intent of supporting terrorism and terrorist activities has committed an offense, without this silly law. The participants have taken a step beyond “mere preparation” and are on their way to their stated goal: murder, robbery, or general chaos.
There’s battle lines bein’ drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrongSteven Stills, Buffalo Springfield, 1966
Ask anybody who was around in the 1960’s and they will swear the Buffalo Springfield song was an anti-war song. According to Wikipedia, it was a protest against a curfew imposed along the Sunset Strip. It protested the restrictions imposed by the authorities on young people to stumble around screwed up late at night. Here is what Wikipedia had to say:
Although “For What It’s Worth” is often considered an anti-war song, Stephen Stills was inspired to write the song because of the Sunset Strip curfew riots in November 1966—a series of early counterculture-era clashes that took place between police and young people on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, California, beginning in mid-1966, the same year Buffalo Springfield had become the house band at the Whisky a Go Go on the Sunset Strip. Local residents and businesses had become annoyed by how crowds of young people going to clubs and music venues along the Strip had caused late-night traffic congestion. In response, they lobbied the city to pass local ordinances stopping loitering, and enforced a strict curfew on the Strip after 10 p.m. The young music fans, however, felt the new laws infringed upon their civil rights.
Shit you thought was a given, isn’t.
Now a days it is not necessary to do the right thing. One just has to give the appearance of doing the tight thing. Just the act of writing a law is good for brownie points. If the law is unenforceable or fatally flawed that’s not the author’s fault. It’s the system.