by John Crump,
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- The City of Charlottesville has joined local business of Charlottesville in a lawsuit against several militias. The lawsuit contends that these groups violated Virginia law by acting as paramilitary units and private armies. It goes on to accuse the militias of providing private security for the United The Right rally. The suit's goal is to prevent these groups from returning to Charlotteville
The lawsuit also claims the militias were indistinguishable from peacekeeping forces which would make them in violation of the same law that prevents people from impersonating a police officer. Other accusations made in the suit are more outlandish than the claim that the militias would be confused with state peacekeeping forces.
The suit states “private military forces transformed an idyllic college town into a virtual combat zone.”
The lawsuit claims that the militias took part in the fighting between the Unite The Right protesters and the counter-protesters. After checking with Charlottesville police, no militia members were arrested or took part in the fight, and there were no firefights.
The lawsuit also argues that the militias are not protected under the second amendment to the US Consitution because they do not answer to the government. Their reading of the second amendment is that it gives the government the right to form a militia and not the people. It will be interesting to see how this argument stands up in court.
The suit also claims that they militias undercut the police ability to control the violence. This claim seems to contrast to the reports that the police did not try to keep the alt-right and the Antifa members separated and in fact pushed the alt-right towards Antifa when Gov. McAuliffe declared the gathering an unlawful assembly.
One of the more outlandish claims of the lawsuit is that these groups didn't register their machine guns within 24 hours of entering Virginia.
The fact is that no one in any of the militias had machine guns.
It goes on to say that these groups were also guilty of brandishing their rifles. What that would mean is that they were holding their guns in a way to cause fear that they were going to shoot their weapon. This charge was not the case in Charlottesville.
If any of the militia members were to actually brandish their weapons, they would have been arrested by the police.
Another claim that the plaintiffs make is that these groups are guilty of running a private security business without registering their business in Virginia. To run a private security business in Virginia is illegal if that firm is not registered with the state of Virginia, but none of these groups were paid to go to Charlottesville.
The lawsuit sites laws that in Virginia the militia is accountable to the state, but these laws only apply to militias formed by Virginia. By the plaintiffs own admission these groups were from New York and Pennsylvania. According to attorney Russ Haynes, on The Patriot News Podcast, the lawsuit would have to imply that these were invading militias from New York and Pennsylvania and this would be almost impossible to prove.
One fact that jumped out at me is that a source of a lot of these claims come from Antifa websites such as itgoingdown.org. This site is run by the group BAMN which acts as a parent organization for Antifa and regularly preaches violence.
Whether you agree with what the militias did that day in Charlotteville, or not this lawsuit is full of problems. If this lawsuit is successful, it could have far-reaching implications when it comes to the militia clause of the Second Amendment.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%'ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on the history of the patriot movement and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss or at www.crumpy.com.