A young Montana state House of Representatives lawmaker introduced a resolution calling for Antifa to be designated a terrorist organization.
GOP Rep. Braxton Mitchell, R, said that over the last several years of his teenage life, into adulthood, he has watched Antifa — short for Anti-Fascist — expand and gain a stronger presence.
“I just don’t want to go into a future where [political violence] becomes the norm, and I hope as a country, we can start moving away from political violence on both sides,” the twenty-year-old Republican told Fox News.
Montana did not see any rioting last summer during the George Floyd protests, which frequently turned into nighttime riots, but the freshmen state legislator said, “We’re just trying to send a message as a state.”
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Mitchell said he hopes the joint resolution will not only serve as an Antifa deterrent in his home state but will encourage President Biden and Congress to consider designating them as a domestic terrorist group.
Though the Republican lawmaker said that the outreach from Montanans has been impressive — receiving over 10,000 calls and emails in support of the resolution in just one night — he incurred some pushback from House members.
Some Montana state Democratic members asked that other groups be included in the measure, including organizations that participated in the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
But Mitchell pointed out that the resolution is specifically tailored to offenses committed by Antifa members, such as attacks on certain journalists, along with doxing and stalking members of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
The freshmen lawmaker encouraged fellow House members to hold hearings and bring separate bills targeted for separate groups to the Montana legislature.
While the resolution does not call on any other groups to be named as domestic terrorists, it “urges any group or organization in the United States to voice its opinions without using violence.”
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The measure originally had 53 co-sponsors, though following his explanation that additional groups could not be added to it, 31 Republican lawmakers removed their names.
But Mitchell remains confident his joint resolution still has their support and will encourage state and federal legislators to have an open discussion on designating Antifa as a domestic terror group.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.