Anti-paramilitary training laws — adopted in 14 states in the past six years — have had a deterrent effect on violence-prone extremist hate groups and have resulted in successful prosecutions, according to a report issued by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith.
The laws, which are based on an ADL model statute which bans paramilitary training aimed at provoking civil disorder, were enacted in four states this year — Arkansas, Illinois, Michigan and Nebraska.
Michael Schultz, chairman of ADL’s Civil Rights Committee, made the report public at a session of the agency’s National Executive Committee meeting here at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. He listed the 10 other states which have passed similar statutes as California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
LEGAL ACTIONS IN FOUR STATES
In Missouri, according to the report, the enactment of an anti-paramilitary training statute in 1984 has forced the Christian Patriots Defense League, an extremist survivalist group, to eliminate weapons training from its meetings. For several years the CPDL had offered instruction in fighting with guns and knives, demolition, camouflage and even anti-aircraft and anti-tank weaponry.
In Florida, the first jury convictions of violators of a state law banning paramilitary training were obtained this spring. Four members of the Ku Klux Klan were convicted of training with firearms for terrorist acts against minorities. Included in the charges brought against them was participation in instruction to make incendiary devices with intent to engage in civil disorder.
In North Carolina, Glenn Miller, the leader of the White Patriot Party, an armed racist group, was convicted earlier this year for violating a federal court order banning operation of an illegal paramilitary organization. The court order, handed down in 1985, prohibited the organization from taking actions that would violate North Carolina’s 1981 anti-paramilitary training statute.
In Nebraska, passage of an anti-paramilitary training law came last March during the trial of members of a heavily armed cult-like group with links to the extremist paramilitary organization known as Posse Comitatus. The defendants were charged with murder and torture in the deaths of two persons. Last year a cache of arms was found on the group’s compound in the southeastern Nebraska community of Rulo.
RATIONALE OF PARAMILITARY TRAINING ACTIVITIES
The extremist groups’ paramilitary training activities, according to the ADL report, have typically involved instruction in weapons handling, demolition and guerrilla warfare strategy with “combat” training interspersed with indoctrination of hatred and totalitarian ideology. The paramilitary training classes are conducted “in preparation for anticipated civil strife, the rationale being the visit of a coming race war,” according to the ADL’s report.
Operators of these paramilitary centers, the ADL pointed out, claim their activities are “defense” or “survival” training courses. “But regardless of the label applied,” the report noted, “it is clear that armed racists, pathological enemies of Blacks, Jews, immigrants and other minority groups are engaged in paramilitary training for guerrilla warfare and against their purported adversaries.”
The report was prepared by the Legal Affairs Department of the ADL’s Civil Rights Division.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.