Vermont bans owning and running paramilitary training camps

MONTPELIER, VT - APRIL 27: Vermont elected officials of the house and senate spoke at a “Just Majority” Supreme Court accountability campaign press conference outside the Vermont State House in Montpelier, Vermont on Thursday, April 27, 2023. The 20-stop nation-wide bus tour launched in Boston with a call for reforms of the U.S. Supreme Court. (Photo by John Tully/Getty Images)
(Photo by John Tully/Getty Images)

OAN Roy Francis
1:02 PM – Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Republican Governor Phil Scott has signed legislation banning anyone from owning or operating a paramilitary camp. This was introduced in response to a facility that was built without permits with the purpose of firearms training.


The new bill, S.3, which was signed by the governor, prohibits anyone from teaching, training of demonstrating to anyone else the use of a firearm, explosive, or incendiary device that will be used in civil disorder. It also bans anyone from gathering with others for such training, instruction or practice.

The new Vermont law does not apply to law enforcement activity, and educational institutions where military science is taught. It also exempts self-defense instruction, firearms instruction with the intent to teach safe handling and use of firearms, as well as any lawful sports or activities such as hunting, target shooting, and firearms collecting.

Violators of the new law face up to five years in prison or a fine of up to $50,000, or both.

The law also gives the state’s attorney general authority to take immediate action to restrain unlawful activities in the interest of public good.

The new law was passed in response to the 30-acre firearms training center in southern Vermont that was built by Daniel Banyai and his supporters. The case against Banyai was brought by the Vermont Environmental Court in 2019.

Banyai now faces jail time and fines that could exceed $100,000 if he does not comply and remove all unpermitted structures on the site by June 23rd.

Senior counsel and leader of Giffords’ Guns & Democracy project, Allison Anderman, supported the new legislation saying that it will “help reduce the spread of dangerous, illegal, and anti-government firearms intimidation.”

“Today, Vermont joins 25 other states that prohibit firearms training for anti-government paramilitary activity,” Anderman said. “Private paramilitary activity is illegal in Vermont and has been associated with the intimidation of people exercising their constitutional rights across the US. This is a commonsense policy that will help reduce the spread of dangerous, illegal, and anti-government firearms intimidation.”

The legislature in Oregon is considering a similar bill which would create the country’s most comprehensive law against any paramilitary activity. A bill in New Mexico, aimed at halting paramilitary patrols which were created in recent years to stop the influx of illegal immigration along the border with Mexico, had failed earlier this year.

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