Is Virginia outlawing all forms of self-defense, incuding kickboxing, Tai Chi, and firearms instruction? No, that's not true: A proposed bill that may be considered in the next session of the Virginia General Assembly does make deadly paramilitary training illegal if the instructor intends the lessons learned to be used for "civil disorder" - such as for terrorism or an armed insurrection against the government. Self defense training and firearm instruction that is not with the known intention of creating civil disorder would not be outlawed. Virginians could still learn martial arts and shooting for sport or self defense. Since this is just a proposed bill, there is no way of knowing if it will be voted on by the General Assembly or passed into law - which makes the headline claiming that Virigina is outlawing these activities misleading.
The claim originated from an article (archived here), where it was published by MySelfDefenseTraining.com on December 4, 2019, under the title "Virginia to Outlaw Kickboxing, Tai Chi, Firearms Instruction and Self-defense Training". It opened:
The State of Virginia is proposing a new 2020 law known as SB64 which will be taken up by the Senate beginning January 8, 2020.
The law would instantly transform all martial arts instructors into criminal felons. This includes instructors who teach kickboxing, BJJ, Krav Maga, boxing and even Capoeira.
It would also criminalize all firearms training classes, including concealed carry classes.
It would even criminalize a father teaching his own son how to use a hunting rifle.
This is what social media users saw:
Let's look at what is in Senate Bill No, 64, which was pre-filed on November 21, 2019, for consideration after the General Assembly starts on January 8, 2020:
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:
1. That § 18.2-433.2 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:
§ 18.2-433.2. Paramilitary activity prohibited; penalty.
A person shall be is guilty of unlawful paramilitary activity, punishable as a Class 5 felony if he:
1. Teaches or demonstrates to any other person the use, application, or making of any firearm, explosive, or incendiary device, or technique capable of causing injury or death to persons, knowing or having reason to know or intending that such training will be employed for use in, or in furtherance of, a civil disorder; or
2. Assembles with one or more persons for the purpose of training with, practicing with, or being instructed in the use of any firearm, explosive, or incendiary device, or technique capable of causing injury or death to persons, intending to employ such training for use in, or in furtherance of, a civil disorder; or
3. Assembles with one or more persons with the intent of intimidating any person or group of persons by drilling, parading, or marching with any firearm, any explosive or incendiary device, or any components or combination thereof.
2. That the provisions of this act may result in a net increase in periods of imprisonment or commitment. Pursuant to § 30-19.1:4 of the Code of Virginia, the estimated amount of the necessary appropriation cannot be determined for periods of imprisonment in state adult correctional facilities; therefore, Chapter 854 of the Acts of Assembly of 2019 requires the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission to assign a minimum fiscal impact of $50,000. Pursuant to § 30-19.1:4 of the Code of Virginia, the estimated amount of the necessary appropriation cannot be determined for periods of commitment to the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice.
If passed into law as written, it would simply outlaw being a teacher or student in a class to learn the "use of any firearm, explosive, or incendiary device, or technique capable of causing injury or death to persons, intending to employ such training for use in, or in furtherance of, a civil disorder." If there is no knowledge or intent to use the deadly skills (which means to kill someone) in an act of civil disorder, then there is no felony.
It also makes it illegal to use a firearm or a bomb to "intimidate any person of group" while "drilling, parading, or marching."
The law is intended to stop paramilitary training by groups that want to terrorize and kill, not to "criminalize a father teaching his own son how to use a hunting rifle," or to prevent that son from earning a black belt in karate.