In the midst of a national gun control debate, an Internet-based survivalist group has launched the development of a community of "patriotic Americans" armed with semi-automatic weapons high up in the Idaho mountains.
formed in early 2012, the group called The Citadel reveals plans on its website to build a community in Benewah County south of Coeur d'Alene that would house up to 7,000 families. The commune would comprise "patriotic American families who agree that being prepared for the emergencies of life and being proficient with the American icon of Liberty — the Rifle — are prudent measures."
Residents would have to agree to conditions that include following federal and state constitutions; being able to shoot a man-sized steel target at various distances with a handgun and a rifle; having an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle variant and at least five magazines and 1,000 rounds of ammunition; keeping every household stocked with a year's worth of food, water and supplies; and taking courses on such topics as basic medical care and firearms safety.
The commune would be protected by walls and towers, with a firearms-manufacturing company, III Arms, at the center of its development. The company was incorporated in Idaho in August, its headquarters listed in Gaithersburg, Md., a suburb of Washington, D.C. III Percent — seemingly a reference to the "three percenter" militia movement — and Citadel Land Development were created in Idaho last month, according to state records.
While some media outlets are applauding The Citadel as "patriotic," others are calling the proposal foolish.
"I think it's imprudent to surround yourself entirely with people from a narrow slice of the political spectrum; nonsensical to dedicate so many resources to self-defense when you're living in rural Idaho; and foolhardy to raise your kids in a place where they'll be miserable unless they happen to share both your politics and enthusiasm for gun culture," writes The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf.
The Citadel hopes to break ground shortly after summer 2013. More than 200 families already have applied to join the Citadel, according to its website.
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