'Sovereign Citizens' Extremists Making Comeback

Sunday, 05 Jan 2014 04:05 PM

By Elliot Jager

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A resurgence of the anti-government sovereign citizens movement has caught the attention of law enforcement and extremist watchdog groups, Fox News reports.

Sovereign citizens believe that the United States government is illegitimate and that people have been "hoodwinked" into accepting its authority.

"All are born into the sovereign domain of the prime creator. No code can ever abridge that fact, no amount of man-made thought or words on paper can ever abridge that. Today man has lost sight of himself so bad that he will blindly follow, believe or succumb to anything considered an authority outside or seemingly above himself," a man who identified himself only as Joseph told Fox News.

Authorities estimate there are between 80,000 and 300,000 adherents throughout the country, many living on the fringes of society.

Active followers have been known to engage in harassment, refusal to pay taxes, filing bogus legal claims and, occasionally, in violence.

In November 2013, two Las Vegas men faced criminal charges for allegedly planning to kidnap and execute police officers after putting them on "trial" for "treason," according to the Las Vegas Sun.

The murders of seven law enforcement officers have been tied to adherents of the sovereign citizens movement, according to Fox. Terry Nichols, who was involved in the 1995 Oklahoma City federal building bombing was also philosophically tied to the movement.

According to JJ MacNab, an expert on the movement, "sovereign citizens don't call themselves that. In fact, if you ask a person if she is a member of the movement, she is likely to respond that the 'sovereign citizen' label is an oxymoron, and that she is an individual seeking the truth."

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), authorities have noted an increase in the number of sovereign citizens who are African-Americans. The SPLC's Mark Potok told Fox News that "this used to a white phenomenon, you couldn't be a sovereign citizen early on if you weren't white."

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