A bill put together by Democrats in Virginia would outlaw militia exercises, but also forbid most martial arts training, self-defense courses, and even firearms defense classes.
Senate Bill 64 in Virginia would ban all “paramilitary activity,” which is theoretically aimed at prohibiting civilian militias. Of course, civilian militias are explicitly allowed as an inalienable right in the Second Amendment.
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.
The bill, which is set to be argued starting on January 8 or 2020, says that someone will be guilt of a class-5 misdemeanor if the “Assemble with one or more persons for the purpose of training with, practicing with, or being instructed in the use of any firearm, explosive, or incendiary device, or technique capable of causing injury or death to persons…”
You can see a pdf of the bill and its wording here.
The awfully worded clause at the end of the three prohibitions listed in the bill (which also includes teaching martial arts as well as assembling in martial arts classes) is the phrase, “knowing or having reason to know or intending that such training will be employed for use in, or in furtherance of, a civil disorder.”
Democrats are arguing that the bill only outlaws teaching someone martial arts if they know it will be used for the cause of “civil disorder.” However, it also lists “having reason to know,” a nebulous phrase that means the instructors can be penalized if they have a reason to know, even if they do not realize for sure what the person will do with it.
Martial arts or firearms drill instructors may be charged after-the-fact if a student commits a crime using what they learned in class and it’s determined the instructors should have known it might be used in a lawless manner.
Notice that the Democratic legislation does not define the term, “civil disorder,” and its meaning could be anything a judge wants it to mean.