Tea Party leaders in Oklahoma have been talking to Republican state legislators about introducing legislation to create a new volunteer militia, designed to protect against what they see as the federal government’s infringements on state sovereignty, reports the Associated Press.
“Is it scary? It sure is,” Tea Party leader Al Gerhart told the AP. “But when do the states stop rolling over for the federal government?”
“It’s not a far-right crazy plan or anything like that,” Tulsa-based Tea Party leader, J.W. Berry, assured the AP. “This would be done with the full cooperation of the state Legislature.”
Gerhart, Berry, and their friends have found some receptive ears in the State Capitol. State Sen. Randy Brogdon, a Republican who is running for governor, told AP that he’d spoken to supporters of the idea, and that the Second Amendment makes it constitutional.
The founding fathers, said Brogdon, “were not referring to a turkey shoot or a quail hunt. They really weren’t even talking about us having the ability to protect ourselves against each other. The Second Amendment deals directly with the right of an individual to keep and bear arms to protect themselves from an overreaching federal government.”
And another GOP state lawmaker, Rep. Charles Key, said he thinks there’s a good chance that legislation could be introduced next year.
As TPMmuckraker reported last month, the sheriff of a Louisiana parish recently began training volunteers to create a local militia, for the purpose of responding to a terrorist attack, natural disaster, or civil unrest.
It’s not clear, exactly, how the proposed Oklahoma militia would help the state fight off federal laws that these conservatives oppose — which presumably include the health-care reform law, as well as any serious measure to deal with climate change that may be passed.
Joseph Thia, a constitutional law professor at the University of Oklahoma, pointed out that anti-government extremism has already turned violent in the state in the not too distant past. “Have they heard of the Oklahoma City bombing?” Thai asked.
Gerhart, Berry, and Brogdon did not immediately respond to TPMmuckraker’s requests for comment. An assistant to Key told TPMmuckraker that he is preparing a statement clarifying his views on the issue, which we’ll share with you when we receive it.