Gun Legislation Potentially Criminalizes Firearm Ranges, Safety Training, Security Teams – American Faith

A recently introduced bill, called Preventing Private Paramilitary Activity Act of 2024, regulates private paramilitary actions.

The bill prohibits an individual armed with a firearm from participating in five areas:

  • “(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
  • ‘‘(5) train to engage in any activity described in paragraphs (1) through (4)”

Some have raised concerns that the broad definitions of the activities would criminalize church security teams, gun training endeavors and firearm ranges, and other private actions.

“Private military organizations pose a threat not only to national security, but they also present a public safety problem that extends beyond any single state; for example, private paramilitary actors like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers traveled across state lines on January 6th,” reads a press release for the bill.

Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD), the bill’s sponsor for the House, noted that the bill may even criminalize private entities “patrolling neighborhoods.”

“Patrolling neighborhoods, impeding law enforcement and storming the U.S. Capitol, private paramilitary groups like the Oath Keepers, the Three Percenters and the Proud Boys are using political violence to intimidate our people and threaten democratic government and the rule of law,” he said. “Our legislation makes the obvious but essential clarification that these domestic extremists’ paramilitary operations are in no way protected by our Constitution. I’m grateful to Senator Markey for his partnership on this critical effort to protect the rule of law, deter insurrection and defend our democracy.”

Senator Edward Markey (D-MA), the bill’s sponsor in the Senate, also said private paramilitary actors “pose a serious threat to democracy and the rule of law.”

“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,” Markey stated. “The forces of bigotry, hatred, and violent extremism must be stopped for the sake of our democracy.”

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