The article went on to further state, "Tea party movement leaders say they've discussed the idea with several supportive lawmakers and hope to get legislation next year to recognize a new volunteer force. They say the unit would not resemble militia groups that have been raided for allegedly plotting attacks on law enforcement officers."
The legislators referred to, State Rep. Charles Key (R-OKC) and State Sen. Randy Brgdon (R-Owasso) - a candidate for governor - have both issued statements regarding the article.
State Sen. Randy Brogdon:
There Already is an Oklahoma Militia
Brogdon says historical context represented as personal opinion in news reports
Recent statements of mine regarding an Oklahoma militia have been misrepresented, taken out of context and are badly misunderstood. I have stated that the formation of and participation in, an Oklahoma militia is legal based on both federal and state law.
However, remarks I made in historical context were inaccurately reported as my personal opinion. Specifically, historical speculation about the frame of mind of the Founding Fathers as they wrote the Constitution was reported as if it were my deeply held belief. Then these misrepresentations were used to distort my true beliefs, while implying that I have violent intentions.
So let me set the facts straight about my beliefs on dealing with the federal government, the role of a militia in Oklahoma, and how best to effect change in government.
Both the First and Second Amendments of the U.S. Constitution protect individual participation in a militia. Membership in such a group is a form of self-expression, so our right to free speech comes into focus. The Second Amendment states, "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Our Founding Fathers were suspicious of big, centralized government. However, nobody can mistake this statement as some sort of right to insurrection.
The fact is that Oklahoma state law already establishes and provides for, an "unorganized militia" as an officially recognized part of Oklahoma military forces.
§44-41. Composition of Militia - Classes.
The Militia of the State of Oklahoma shall be divided into three (3) classes: The National Guard, the Oklahoma State Guard, and the Unorganized Militia.
23. "State military forces" means the National Guard of the state, as defined in Title 32, United States Code, the organized naval militia of the state, and any other military force organized under the Constitution and laws of the state to include the unorganized militia (the state defense force when not in a status subjecting them to exclusive jurisdiction under Chapter 47 of Title 10, United States Code).
These statutes are not part of overlooked or arcane law. The legislature has rewritten this section numerous times over decades, most recently in 2007.
So undeniably, a militia in Oklahoma is not only legal – it already exists as a matter of fact.
No, Oklahoma does not need to activate the unorganized militia. If we ever do, it certainly won't be to invade Washington, D.C. In fact, Oklahoma's unorganized militia is prohibited from operating outside the state.
I do plan to fight what I consider to be an over-reaching federal government, but I will do it with the Constitutional tools provided by the framers. For years, I have advocated adherence to the 10 th Amendment as a weapon against big government.
As a legislator for much of the last decade I have routinely proposed new law. When enough of my Senate colleagues agree with me laws are changed or enacted, peacefully. Yet, this week, some people seem convinced that I would abandon the democratic process to wage actual war on the federal government which is simply bizarre.
I was saddened that some in the anti-militia crowd can be as irrational and violent as those they condemn. As this story developed over the week, I received as many as a half-dozen death threats, not only directed at me but at my family as well. One unpleasant person said they would only be satisfied when I am swinging from a tree. Hopefully, the thought was fleeting. The threats were forwarded to the OSBI for investigation.
State Rep. Charles Key:
DEMAND FOR RETRACTION AND RELEASE OF RECORDED INTERVIEW
April 15, 2010
On Thursday April 8, 2010, Sean Murphy of the Associated Press came to my office and asked to speak about some rumors “they” had heard about militias. He said “they” had heard that there were some legislators who were considering filing legislation about ‘the militia’. He was very persistent about trying to get comments from me about militias and asked if I knew anything about that or heard anything about that. I told him unequivocally that I knew nothing about that and had not heard anyone talk about or request a legislator address this issue in any way. We then talked about state sovereignty issues and the liberal interpretation of the “Commerce Clause” in Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.
I was surprised to learn of the article that appeared in The Oklahoman and other media outlets on Monday, April 12, 2010 that attributed to me a statement I never made. The statement attributed to me was not in quotation marks and the interview of April 8 was not recorded to my knowledge. My office has been inundated with inquiries about this false statement.
Tuesday, April 13, Sean Murphy came by my office and asked to speak with me. He said he wanted to apologize if the article had caused me or my legislative assistant any problems. I told him that he got it terribly wrong and reminded him that I didn’t know anything about an interest and never said I was considering filing legislation related to militia. He then made a statement that stories are sometimes edited and that can alter the intent of the interviewee. He then said he wanted to get it right and asked if he could record our conversation. I agreed and we did another interview. I expected to see a corrected article to follow.
I am demanding a retraction and that the recording from the second interview be released.
The issue appears to have started when Al Gerhart, co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party and founder of the Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance, made statements to the press expressing support for starting a state-run militia, as mentioned in state statutes.
The media ran with it, and now the issue has blown into a huge brouhaha. Gerhart continues to make idiotic statements, and his Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance, once a loose affiliation of more than 30 groups across the state, is now shrinking.
Gerhart does not speak for the Tea Party movement in Oklahoma, and I certainly hope that his stupid actions don't hurt the movement as a whole.