A young state lawmaker in Montana has introduced a resolution calling for Antifa to be designated a terrorist organization.
Republican state Rep. Braxton Mitchell, age 20, says that during his teen years and into adulthood, he has watched Antifa — short for anti-fascist — expand and gain a stronger presence, often using violent tactics.
“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,” Mitchell told Fox News.
Montana did not see any rioting last summer during the George Floyd protests, which frequently turned violent in many cities across the U.S., but that isn’t deterring the freshmen state legislator from taking a stand.
“We’re just trying to send a message as a state,” he said.
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 it as a domestic terrorist group.
Support from Montanans has been impressive, Mitchell said, claiming he received more than 10,000 calls and emails backing the resolution in just one night.
But he did incur some pushback from fellow House members.
For example, some Montana state Democrats 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 his resolution is tailored to offenses committed by Antifa members, such as attacks on certain journalists, along with doxing and stalking members of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
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.”
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 said he 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.