Idaho National Guard Introduces Bill To Repeal Ban On Private militias
IDAHO - The Idaho National Guard and Governor Brad Little are pushing to repeal the state law banning private militias. The state law is said to infringe upon the Second Amendment which reads "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed".
Legal analysts have stated that the Constitution does not protect private military groups, but instead only protect groups that are under the authority of the state, or government in place. Currently all 50 states reportedly prohibit 'private and unauthorized' militias and military units from engaging in activities 'reserved for state militia' according to law enforcement officials.
If the bill is passed to allow private paramilitary organizations, Idaho would reportedly be the only state that would not have laws prohibiting private militias in place.
Last month the Idaho National Guard introduced legislation, "relating to unorganized associations and parades" that would repeal part of the Idaho code that forbids "a body of men" other than the National Guard, to "associate themselves together as a military company or organization, or parade in public with firearms in any city or town of this state".
Major Stephen Stokes, a general counsel for the Idaho National Guard told a legislative panel that the statute "restricts fundamental rights and freedoms". He called the restrictions "antiquated" as well as 'clear violations' of the United States Constitution and the Idaho State Constitution.
Emily Callihan who is the governor's communications director stated that the governor's office approves of the language of the bill and has given the green light to propose the bill this session.
"Gov. Little is a strong supporter of Americans' First and Second Amendment rights, and the nearly 100-year-old statute that H475 will repeal is needless and inconsistent with Idahoans' rights to peaceably assemble and bear arms in public" Callihan stated in an email, as reported by Stripes.
A 'public interest' law firm however opposes the bill, saying that the legal opinion that Stokes has ignored previous court rulings and other parts of state law according to the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection.
A letter sent to legal legislators by legal analysts however, claim that the statute in place to restrict private militias aligns with the language of both the U.S. Constitution and Idaho State constitution, saying "The prohibition against unauthorized paramilitary organizations is fully consistent with the First and Second Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and with the Idaho Constitution and Idaho's substantial regulation of military and paramilitary activity".
Spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Border stated however through email according to Stripes, that the statute is 'unrelated' to Idaho Military Division Operations and that the bill was part of the Red Tape Reduction act that is directed at reducing ineffective or outdated rules that are in need of being repealed.
Idaho does not reportedly enforce the anti-militia laws that have been in place despite seeing numerous militia organizations form in the country such as the "Idaho's Aryan Nations", Three Percenters and Ammon Bundy's People's Rights.
At the introductory hearing Representative Scott Syme, who is a Caldwell Republican asked why the military is proposing the bill. Stokes replied with "During our annual red tape review, we saw this and decided to bring it forward to eliminate it".