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April 13, 2023
The Idaho House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday that would effectively lift the state’s current ban on the formation of private militias in the state.
As part of Idaho Governor Brad Little’s (R) “Red Tape Reduction Act” which aims to remove laws and codes that are not useful or create extra drain on government and remove them from the books, Republican Rep. Joe Palmer (R-Meridian) introduced the bill that would lift the current ban on private citizens organizing and calling themselves a militia.
There is currently no enforcement of the existing law, but the bill does allow anyone who is harmed by a private militia to sue them in civil court. Palmer says the old law is “antiquated” and has never even been used in Idaho’s history.
“It basically does a couple things that are being removed,” Palmer said. “It prohibits a body of men from associating themselves together as a military company or organization.”
Democrats in the House largely oppose the bill, saying now is not the time to repeal the ban. “In fact it should stay on the books — it’s been there for over a century and there are reasons for this,” Boise Rep. John Gannon (D) said. “This isn’t the kind of message that I think we want to send,” Gannon said, pointing out that the ban that would be lifted also includes a ban on towns organizing their own militias.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: SLATE.COM