Frederick, MD asked in Civil Rights and Military Law for Maryland

Q: What are the laws governing private militias in MD?

I found many references to "Private and unauthorized Militias" but cannot find any definitions.

There are many Militias operating nationwide, but I cannot find any laws concerning their legality in the state of MD.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: Maryland Public Safety Code, Title 13. Militia.

The full act and statutes can be accessed here:

§ 13-214. Prohibitions

(a) Except for the units of the organized militia and the troops of the United States, a body of persons may not associate as a military company or organization or parade in public as a military company or organization without the permission of the Governor.

(b) Except for troops acting under the authority of the President, an armed military force from another state may not enter this State for military duty without the permission of the Governor.

It is unclear what the penalty is for violation of this subsection, as there is no penalty stated under the Militia sections of the Code, nor is there a specific penalty specified under the Criminal Code. It may perhaps be enforced through injunctive relief, and then through civil contempt proceedings for a violation, which may then involve fines and jail. The subsection may further be challenged or limited under First Amendment guarantees of the right to assemble. The specific conduct of the alleged militia is probably what would be determinative of whether such a group is legally protected to form in the state.

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