Modern-Day Militias Rise in Virginia

Modern-Day Militias Rise in Virginia

The Nelson County Sheepdogs June in their official formation on June 20 at Zenith Firearms, with a Viet Nam-era UH-1 Huey helicopter in the background. Submitted photo. Militia groups in Virginia will tell you that a militia is not really something you have to join—if you’re between 16 and 55 and able-bodied, you already belong. Article 1, Section 13 of the Virginia Constitution says that a well-regulated militia is “composed of the body of the people, trained to arms” and represents the “proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state.” “I’m a member of the militia, as are you,” said Nelson County resident Paul Cangialosi. “It exists, we’re in it, and my position is that we have an obligation to be well-prepared. We have neglected that for well over 100 years, so now we’re trying to put it back together.” Cangialosi volunteers on his own and in conjunction with the Virginia Militia Alliance (VMA) to help stand up local militias across the state, and there’s no shortage of interest. The VMA, whose motto is “Revive, Reestablish, Restore,” counts more than two dozen militia groups in central and southwest Virginia that have formed in just the past year, and hopes to eventually support one in every county in the Commonwealth. Unsurprisingly, the ascendant movement has generated a lot of questions from neighbors and observers about its methods and aims. What is their mission? Nelson residents were curious to see signs advertising a “militia muster call” in late June, and […]

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