The “Unite the Right” rally in August of 2017 led to widespread panic and chaos in Charlottesville, Va. One major cause of the panic, coupled with the violence, was the intimidating display of the paramilitary activity that rioters demonstrated.
According to new study released by Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection (ICAP) all 50 states have laws already on the books that would prevent the public displays of a private militia that the nation saw in August, and thus and can prevent similar crises in the future.
“What we found is that every state has laws on the books that could be used to help ensure that the violence that occurred during the ‘Unite the Right’ rally never happens again in America,” stated Mary McCord, senior litigator at ICAP. “Local authorities in all 50 states should know that the law empowers them to restrict paramilitary activity during public rallies, while preserving the rights to free expression and peaceful assembly.”
Here are the laws Alabama has on the books that could prevent another Charlottesville:
Ala. Const. art. I, § 27.
Standing army; military subordinate to civil power That no standing army shall be kept up without the consent of the legislature, and, in that case, no appropriation for its support shall be made for a longer term than one year; and the military shall, in all cases, and at all times, be in strict subordination to the civil power.
Ala. Code § 31-2-125.
Unauthorized military organizations Any two or more persons, whether with or without uniform, who associate, assemble, or congregate together by or under any name in a military capacity for the purpose of drilling, parading, or marching at any time or place or otherwise take up or bear arms in any such capacity without authority of the Governor, must, on conviction, be fined not more than $1,000. This section does not apply to any school or college where military training and instruction is given under the provisions of state or federal laws, nor to the order of Knights of Templar, Knights of Pythias, Patriarchs Militant, or Uniform Rank Woodmen of the World.
Ala. Code § 31-2-18.
Wearing foreign uniforms—Prohibited; exceptions
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to appear in any public place or in the public view attired in any uniform similar to that worn by the military, semi-military, naval, police, storm troop, or other official or semiofficial forces of any foreign state, nation or government, or attired in any distinctive part or parts of such a uniform, and to assemble with other persons similarly attired in any camp, drill ground, or other place for the purpose of engaging in military drill or training or other military purposes.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to appear in any public place or in the public view attired in the uniform or wearing the distinctive garment of any association of persons of whatsoever nature or form which engages in, adopts, or imitates the drill formations, salutes, or other methods or practices or the symbols of any foreign military, semi-military, naval, police, storm troop, or similar foreign organization, and, so attired, to assemble with other persons similarly attired in any camp, drill ground, or other place for the purpose of engaging in military drill or training or other military practices.
(c) It shall be unlawful for the proprietor, manager, or keeper of any place of public meeting, resort or amusement to permit therein any assemblage of persons attired as prohibited in this section.
(d) This section shall not apply to the officers or members of the military, semi-military, naval, police, or other official or semiofficial forces of any foreign state, nation, or government lawfully within the State of Alabama, any veterans’ organization chartered by Act of Congress, the Boy Scouts of America, any student of any school or academy recognized by the Board of Education of the State of Alabama, nor to the members of the cast of any stage or motion picture production characterizing the officials of a foreign