Recruiting membership in an unauthorized militia or the Ku Klux Klan would be a crime if legislation approved Thursday by the House of Representatives becomes law.
“This is making unauthorized militias illegal,” said Rep. Mike Shelton, the amendment’s author.
“In Oklahoma, we have seen the damage done by militia fanatics,” said Shelton, referring to the truck bombing 15 years ago of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. “The Ku Klux Klan has a long history of violence and domestic terrorism,” he said.
SB 2018 passed 98-1. It now goes to the Senate.
Shelton’s amendment was filed about a week after news reports indicated some in Oklahoma tea party groups supported a volunteer militia to help defend the state’s sovereignty against federal government infringement. Several tea party leaders later said they had been talking about reinstituting a state guard, which would help with emergencies and would be under the direction of the governor and Legislature.
Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, asked Shelton if he characterized the Black Panthers as an unauthorized militia.
“Are they going around terrorizing communities, doing drive-by shootings, using ammonium nitrate to blow up buildings?” Shelton asked. “When they start doing that, they would be considered (that).”