Idaho’s Republican trifecta is on track to strike down the state’s anti-militia law: On Monday, the state Senate approved a bill that would repeal its long-standing prohibition on private militias and paramilitary organizations, the Idaho Statesman reported. The House, the bill’s next destination, last year easily passed a similar bill that never made it to the upper chamber. And the odds are slim that Governor Brad Little, who worked with the Idaho Military Division for the 2022 bill, would veto the current legislation.
Idaho has a troubled history with extremist paramilitary groups and militias, Boise State Public Radio reported; the neo-Nazi group Aryan Nations was once headquartered in Coeur d’Alene. Democratic state Senator James Ruchti said repealing the law would make it harder to oppose hate groups — and legal experts noted that it would remove the basis for lawsuits like that against a militia that attended the 2017 white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“Once the private militia starts taking actions, overthrowing governments, taking over buildings, do other activities as a private militia, then the law steps in,” Ruchti said. “But by then, it’s too late.”
What to Know Today
Democrats in Congress, led by New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, introduced legislation that would allow the ATF and the FBI to collect records of gun sales and purchases, as well as to publicly share tracing data. [WHYY] Context: As we reported this week, a precise U.S. gun tally remains elusive, but could help explain the relationship between firearm production and gun violence.
Colorado Republicans are ready to fight a package of gun violence prevention bills, including a ban on assault weapon sales and an expansion of the state’s red flag law. Democrats have a sizable majority in both Statehouse chambers, but at least one gun rights group has vowed to sue if the bills pass. [The Denver Post]
After the Michigan State shooting, scam fundraisers proliferated using the names of victims. It’s far from the first mass shooting to spawn fraud charity campaigns. [The New York Times]
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he would support adding open carry to the slate of permitless carry bills winding their way through the state Legislature. Will GOP lawmakers take him up on it? [Florida Phoenix]
An Illinois man was sentenced to 18 months in prison for returning firearms to his son, who was legally barred from possessing them after receiving mental health treatment. The younger man later used one of those weapons to kill four people at a Nashville Waffle House. [Nashville Tennessean]
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Two alleged militia members in Northern California who plotted to “go to war” over the 2020 election have been sentenced to prison. Federal officials seized dozens of firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition while investigating the men. [Los Angeles Times]
Jon Stewart’s viral interview clip with Oklahoma state Senator Nathan Dahm has the lawmaker complaining of biased editing. Stewart accused Dahm of “hypocrisy at its highest order” over the lawmaker’s efforts to loosen gun restrictions alongside his support of legislation criminalizing drag shows. [The Oklahoman]
Chicago police officials are for the third time reopening the investigation into an officer who wore an extremist group’s logo while on duty at a racial justice protest in 2020. The revived probe, prompted by the city’s inspector general, follows intense scrutiny of previous reviews of officers with ties to the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers. [Chicago Sun-Times]
“Are Militias Legal?”: The Second Amendment necessitates “a well regulated Militia” for the security of a free state, and Americans have been parsing the language since it was ratified in 1791. After receiving several questions from readers, The Trace’s Jennifer Mascia examined militia groups, from the Constitution to the modern day. (April 18, 2022)