Boy Scouts Are Not Considered a Private Military Force in Connecticut

As we pointed out in this article you may be a member of the militia without knowing it. That being the case, it’s only natural to assume the same about a group that organizes its uniformed members by rank and was modeled after a decorated war hero. We refer, of course, to the Boy Scouts.

The legislature of Connecticut thought the similarities between the youth group and a paramilitary organization were more than obvious. It wanted to make sure people did not make that mistake.

In 1949, Connecticut enacted a statute to address private military groups. This was in the early days of the Cold War when many people had concerns about Communist insurgents setting up camp in the neighborhood. To address this threat, Connecticut’s legislators required private military organizations to register and provide a list of their members.

Lest anyone get confused about the purpose of the act, lawmakers carved out the Boy Scouts and the Catholic Boys Brigade — two organizations that could easily be confused with paramilitary Commie evildoers.

“Private military force” … includes any group of five or more persons organized or associated together in a camp, group, organization, company, association or society, or in any other manner, for the purpose of drilling or maneuvering with firearms or other dangerous weapons, or with imitations, copies or replicas thereof, or for the purpose of giving or acquiring military training or experience; but said term “private military force” shall not include any military or police units of the United States or of any state or territory, or of any political subdivision of any state or territory, … or any society or fraternal organization which features a uniform or costume with side-arms or replicas thereof for display purposes only, or The Boy Scouts of America, The Catholic Boys Brigade of the United States, Inc., or troops of a foreign government whose admission to the United States has been consented to by the federal or state government, or any person acting or appearing in any theater, motion picture or television production while actually engaged in representing therein military or naval characters or scenes.

CONN. GEN. STAT. §§ 27-101, 27-102.31

Those of us on the Commonplace Fun Facts editorial board who served in the paramilitary Boy Scouts now regret that we missed out on the merit badges for “Firearms Drills and Maneuvers.” Our scoutmaster probably thought we were engaged in insurrection during the infamous Battle of Latrine Hill. Thankfully, the public servants in the Connecticut State House would never make such a mistake.

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