In Rural Virginia, a Militia Tries to Recruit a New Ally: The County Government

In Rural Virginia, a Militia Tries to Recruit a New Ally: The County Government

Travis Dove for The New York Times HALIFAX, Va. — The board of supervisors meeting in September opened with the familiar liturgy of local government: the prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, the roll call. The chairman was recognized for completing a course for public officials. “Constitution Week” was hereby proclaimed. About fifteen minutes in, Ricky Short motioned for approval of Resolution 2020-27. Whereas the Virginia and U.S. constitutions speak of a “well-regulated militia,” it read, whereas a militia should be trained with arms “including modern semiautomatic rifles,” whereas a militia was “the last best hope” when liberties are threatened by “a tyrannical government,” then be it resolved: Halifax County would support a local militia. Ronnie Duffey seconded the motion. Throughout one of the most tumultuous political years in memory, armed paramilitary groups have marched: crowding into statehouse galleries , violently defending public monuments and now planning to show up at the polls on Election Day . Some of these groups have a national network and muster under the self-proclaimed pedigree of “militia,” while others are makeshift, assembling for a night or two of confrontation in the streets and then disbanding just as quickly. In Virginia over the past year, a number of rural counties have mulled resolutions that would officially endorse the assembly and training of local militias. At least three counties have approved them. The triggering event for these came last November, when Democrats won full control of the state government pledging an ambitious gun control agenda. In […]

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