Militias & Extremists

#ComplicitChris Sununu met with a fringe right group founded by racist conspiracy theorists Jerry and Susan DeLemus, at a time when Jerry was (and still is) serving a federal prison sentence for his role in the 2014 armed standoff at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada – the same anti-government extremism that continues today with the recent militia plot to kidnap the Michigan Governor and the armed insurrection on the nation’s capitol. Misguided “patriots” ready to threaten or use violence to enact their version of America only grow bolder when politicians give them credibility or stoke the flames in order to boost their own political career.

#ComplicitChris Sununu looked the other way for months as heavily armed militias (domestic terrorists) agitating for a second Civil War used ReOpen rallies to recruit and organize. Sununu did nothing to rebuke the militia presence, even as photos of them in front of our State House became a symbol for the movement in national media outlets and reports. Instead Sununu expressed sympathy with the gatherings and politely declined an invite citing scheduling conflicts. Worse yet, Sununu ignored public health science and weakened New Hampshire’s response to COVID-19 on the eve of anti-government protests on at least two occasions, caving into extremist demands and rewarding their actions.

#ComplicitChris Sununu still didn’t say anything when those same militia members posted disturbing memes that discussed making command detonators and conducting raids on public leaders; or posts celebrating a 17 year old militia member who murdered two Black Lives Matter activists and injured a third in Wisconsin; or when a group of armed men outside a Black Lives Matter rally in upstate New York led to the discovery of assault-style AR-15 rifles, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and “a tactical manual tying the group to the New England Minutemen militia group” collaborating with ReOpen NH (now ReBuild).

#ComplicitChris Sununu has refused to hold Donald Trump or the angry mob of armed white vigilantes supporting him accountable for threatening our government. One day after insurgents stormed the nation’s capitol in an attempted coup, Sununu questioned the election integrity of other states during his inaugural speech and downplayed the responsibility of those staging an insurrection in DC.

#ComplicitChris Sununu and Attorney General Gordon MacDonald have failed to enforce New Hampshire law and uphold our Constitution regarding private armed militias. The New Hampshire Constitution forbids armed militias outside of state authority, stating: “[i]n all cases, and at all times, the military ought to be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.” (N.H. Const. pt. 1, art. XXVI). Similarly, New Hampshire law prohibits private military units, making it illegal for groups of people to organize as private militias without permission from the state. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 111:15 provides that “[n]o organization, society, club, post, order, league or other combination of persons, or civil group, or any members thereof, are authorized to assume any semblance of military organization or character by bearing or possessing rifles, pistols, sabres, clubs, or military weapons of any kind, or wearing a military uniform of any kind.” Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection states that, “Groups of armed individuals that engage in paramilitary activity or law enforcement functions without being called forth by a governor or the federal government and without reporting to any government authority are acting as unauthorized private militias. They sometimes train together and respond to events using firearms and other paramilitary techniques, such as staking out tactical positions and operating in military-style formations. They often purport to have authority to engage in military and law enforcement functions such as protecting property and engaging in crowd control. These groups often engage in behaviors that show their intent to act as a private militia, such as wearing military style uniforms, tactical gear, or identifying insignia; wielding firearms or other weapons; and operating within a coordinated command structure. Other factors—such as statements by leaders or members’ efforts to direct the actions of others—also may suggest that a group is acting as a private militia.” All activities that the New England Minutemen and other armed militias in New Hampshire have repeatedly done over the past year, in plain view, from conducting training drills together, practicing field medic, referring to themselves as “security” outside of businesses and at rallies and protests, using a chain of command, and establishing standard insignia and uniforms can be considered illegal militia preparation based on the NH State Constitution. The illegal armed militias in New Hampshire that #ComplicitChris Sununu and AG MacDonald refused to hold accountable were so blatant, that here is one of several images of them outside the New Hampshire State House in national stories about … illegal militias.

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