New: ICAP’s Executive Director, Mary McCord, testifies about the threat of private militias and advocates for a federal anti-militia law. Read her prepared testimony here. Watch the hearing here.

 

After the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville led to violence and death, we at ICAP concluded that private paramilitary activity was at the core of the weekend’s mayhem.  We soon filed suit on behalf of the City of Charlottesville, downtown businesses, and neighborhood associations seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to prevent a recurrence of such dangerous privatized use of force.

We prevailed, securing court orders prohibiting a range of groups and individuals from returning to Charlottesville as, in essence, rogue armies. The success in court underscored the importance of adopting a litigation approach grounded in law enforcement sensibilities but ultimately aimed at restoring to the public square the capacity for genuine advocacy and the peaceful exchange of ideas.

ICAP has released a 50 State Catalog of laws prohibiting private armies at public rallies, fact sheets detailing those laws for each state, as well as a toolkit discussing legal principles, best practices, and creative solutions upon which local jurisdictions may draw to protect public safety while respecting constitutional rights during rallies, protests, and other public events.

ICAP has recently partnered with Bernalillo County District Attorney Raúl Torrez to file a civil suit against the New Mexico Civil Guard for its actions during a protest at the statue of Spanish conquistador, Juan de Oñate, in Albuquerque, challenging the group as violating New Mexico state law against unlawful paramilitary and law enforcement activity.

ICAP has produced guidance for a variety of circumstances, including related to elections, polling places, and public protests and demonstrations, where unlawful paramilitary activity presents a threat.

Our Work

  • 9/21/21 – Filed a brief in the Supreme Court arguing that the Constitution permits certain restrictions on firearms possession designed to protect national security and public safety
  • 6/29/21 – published an essay with the Brennan Center explaining why private militias are unlawful in every state, not authorized under federal or state law, and not protected by the Second Amendment.
  • 3/26/21 – Sent a follow-up letter to the Texas governor as well as state, local, and federal officials in Texas urging action to address the growing threat posed by unlawful militia groups, including passing legislation to provide additional ways to combat unlawful paramilitary activity and to criminalize domestic terrorism
  • 1/20/21 – Sent a letter to the Texas governor as well as state, local, and federal officials in Texas urging action to address the growing threat posed by unlawful militia groups, including passing legislation to provide additional ways to combat unlawful paramilitary activity and to criminalize domestic terrorism
  • 11/20/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in response to public concern over private paramilitary activity in Atlanta, Georgia, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 11/6/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in response to public concern over private paramilitary activity in Vancouver, Washington, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 11/2/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in the counties of Dekalb, Fulton, Floyd, Laurens, Clayton, Bartow, Lowndes, Walker, and Hart, Georgia, in response to public concern over private paramilitary activity and voter intimidation, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 11/2/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in response to public concern over private paramilitary activity and voter intimidation in Spokane County, Washington, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 11/2/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in response to public concern over private paramilitary activity and voter intimidation in Lane County, Oregon, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 10/30/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in response to public concern over private paramilitary activity and voter intimidation in Provo, Utah, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 10/30/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in response to public concern over private paramilitary activity and voter intimidation in Ada County, Idaho, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 10/29/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in response to public concern over private paramilitary activity and voter intimidation in Reno, Nevada, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 10/27/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in response to public concern over private paramilitary activity and voter intimidation in Washington County, Utah, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 10/23/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in response to public concern over private paramilitary activity and voter intimidation in Montgomery, New York, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 10/23/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in response to public concern over private paramilitary activity in Lakeland, Florida, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 10/23/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in response to public concern over private paramilitary activity and voter intimidation in Erie, Pennsylvania, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 9/4/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in response to private paramilitary activity in Weatherford, Texas, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 9/2/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in response to private paramilitary activity in Tyler, Texas, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 8/26/20 – Sent letters to local officials and the Wisconsin Attorney General in response to private paramilitary activity in Kenosha, Wisconsin, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 8/21/20 – Sent letters to local officials in response to private paramilitary activity in Elkton and Broadway, Virginia, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 7/29/20 – Held a launch event for our toolkit discussing legal principles, best practices, and creative solutions upon which local jurisdictions may draw to protect public safety while respecting constitutional rights during rallies, protests, and other public events
  • 7/28/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in response to private paramilitary activity in Louisville, Kentucky, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 6/25/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in response to private paramilitary activity in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 6/19/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in response to private paramilitary activity in Bonner County, Idaho, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 6/18/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in response to private paramilitary activity in Campbell County, Virginia, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 6/17/20 – Sent letters to local officials in response to private paramilitary activity in Bedford County and Appomattox County, Virginia, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 6/11/20 – Sent a letter to local officials in response to private paramilitary activity in Altavista, Virginia, advising of applicable state law provisions against such activity
  • 1/8/20 – Published an op-ed laying out the reasons why a recent movement by local governments to declare themselves Second Amendment “sanctuaries” is legally dubious
  • 10/2/19 – Published an op-ed calling attention to militia groups emboldened by the president’s statements and in violation of state and federal laws
  • 8/18/19 – Published an op-ed describing how state and federal law prohibits private militias from operating outside of state authority
  • 7/1/19 – Published an op-ed highlighting how federal law prohibits private militias from assuming the duty of Border Patrol officers
  • 1/2/19 – Published an op-ed outlining how local jurisdictions can protect public safety at protests and rallies while preserving constitutional rights
  • 11/12/18 – Submitted a statement supporting a proposed Portland, Oregon, ordinance authorizing content-neutral time, place, and manner regulations for demonstrations held in the city
  • 11/7/18 – Published an op-ed calling on border state governors to use their state laws to stop the private militias from deploying to the border to “assist” the U.S. military and Customs and Border Patrol
  • 8/10/18 – Published an op-ed in the Washington Post with the former mayor of Charlottesville explaining how local jurisdictions around the country can use existing constitutional provisions and state laws to prevent unauthorized paramilitary activity
  • 8/9/18 – Filed an expert declaration identifying threats to national security, law enforcement, and foreign policy posed by widespread availability of code for 3D-printed guns
  • 2/8/18 – Released a 50 State Catalog of laws prohibiting private armies at public rallies