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Remember the hysteria surrounding private militias? You know; back when Sarah “She Put a Reticle Over Her Opponents on her Facebook Page” Palin was the Republican choice for Vice President? About the time Jared Lee Loughner shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killed six people, and the feds did the entrapment thing with the Hutaree militia (later tossed in court). Liberal commentators drew a straight line between the Republican party, gun rights and “domestic terrorism.” Oh how we laughed! We also warned our readers that the law enforcement industry was taking a bead on small government types. Some of which are called “Sovereign Citizens.” The Richmond County Daily Journal reports that the cops are still paying close attention to the “movement,” whose parameters are worryingly vague . . .

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s website, the FBI considers sovereign-citizen extremists “as comprising a domestic terrorist movement, which, scattered across the United States, has existed for decades, with well-known members, such as Terry Nichols, who helped plan the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, bombing.”

It goes on to say sovereign citizens do not represent an anarchist group, nor are they a militia, although they sometimes use or buy illegal weapons. Rather, they operate as individuals without established leadership and only come together in loosely affiliated groups to train, help each other with paperwork, or socialize and talk about their ideology.

They may refer to themselves as “constitutionalists” or “freemen,” which is not necessarily a connection to a specific group, but, rather, an indication that they are free from government control. They follow their own set of laws. While the philosophies and conspiracy theories can vary from person to person, their core beliefs are the same: The government operates outside of its jurisdiction. Because of this belief, they do not recognize federal, state, or local laws, policies, or regulations.

So how many Reds are under this bed? Let’s gather some intel at the local level . . .

Rob Finch is a detective in the Criminal Intelligence Squad of the Greensboro Police Department, and an expert on sovereign citizen subculture. He has interviewed more than 100 self-proclaimed sovereign citizens over 1,000 hours.

He held a class at Richmond Community College in Hamlet to train law enforcement on the kinds of things they will encounter when dealing with a sovereign citizen.

“We’ve been training law enforcement for the last 18 months and we’ve trained over 5,000 officers,” said Finch. “The best tool is training and we teach them the sovereign’s tactics, tricks and just educate them about the movement.” . . .

“There is a tremendous amount of them,” he said. “Being conservative, I’d say there may be 600, but I think there’s far more than that in North Carolina. You definitely have them here.”

OK Rob, I’m definitely worried—just not about Sovereign Citizens.

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  1. When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny — one of the founding fathers (I forget which one.)

    It looks like the government is getting very afraid. Good.

    • Ok i have to my two cents in too i guess, most “militias” avoid taxes and such by claiming independence from the country, why then is it an issue when they cross the line into the rest of the country to go to the store and such and get popped for not following the rules, they want backup to avoid trouble? really? If you do not want anything to do with this government I am sorry you feel that way but there is many ways out of the country. Quit trying to fight the government from the inside, if you do not like it then leave.

      • and go where? where is freeedom and liberty? where can people not get taxed unnecessarily, own any gun they want, and have a small government that doesn’t play policeman around the world, ruin it’s country with fiat money, and spend trillions it doesn’t have putting the unborn into debt?

        This whole ‘if you don’t like it leave’ is the dumbest statement a person could ever make. Get real and live in the real world…and look around you.. TYRANNY is always the norm, freedom is RARE…

  2. Good job leaving out a major chunk of the article pertaining to what defines a sovereign citizen…

    “”Sovereign citizens believe that when the U.S. government removed itself from the gold standard, it rendered U.S. currency as a valueless credit note, exchanging one credit document (such as a dollar bill) for another,” said the website, “They assert that the U.S. government now uses citizens as collateral, issuing social security numbers and birth certificates to register people in trade agreements with other countries. Each citizen has a monetary net worth, which they believe is kept in a U.S. Treasury Direct account, valued from $630,000 to more than $3 million. These accounts, they claim, are in a third-party’s name, a ‘strawman,’ that they can access, which they commonly refer to as ‘freeing money from the strawman.'”

    Sovereigns believe that the courts have no jurisdiction over them and believe that the state and federal statutes do not apply to them…

    If you’re going to try to paint the cops as fools and the bad guys, the least you could do is report accurately. The parameters of being a sovereign citizen aren’t near as vague as your article implies.

    • I agree with Justin. Many Sovereigns apparently began as racists and anti-semites and morphed into tax rebels, and some have gunned down police officers with little provocation, according to this Southern Poverty Law Center report. It does seem to be a group that bears watching.

      Besides, I work hard to have a good life and I pay a healthy portion of my income in taxes, the so-called price of a civilized society. I say if you don’t want to pay your fair share to enjoy the benefits of living in America, please go somewhere else, quietly and quickly.

        • Quoting “” as a reliable, fair source?

          Really? Tell me one other group that has done so much to fight the Klan, for example. (I guess you’d say the SPLC does “hate” the KKK. So do I.

        • If anyone has paid attention to my and Ralphs remarks to each other, I doubt anyone who question his opinion of the SPLC. I’m a racist, Ralph certainly isnt.

        • LeftShooter, the orgnization that did the most to fight the Klan — who broke the Klan — was the FBI. Once Lyndon Johnson lit a fire under J. Edgar’s ass, the Klan was systematically taken apart. Individual Klan murderers were also prosecuted in Federal courts, since the state courts were Klan influenced if not Klan dominated.

          The SPLC sued the Aryan Nations and ended up bankrupting that bunch of thugs. So what happened to the other $200 million that’s sitting in the SPLC’s bank account? It’s a 501(c)3, their financial reports are public, and that’s what the SPLC is worth. Look it up.

          They should probably change the company’s name to the Southern Rich as Hell Law Center.

        • Ralph,
          I know the SPLC’s endowment has grown to $200MM, which tells me that a lot of people support the misson of the Center and want it to continue. As you know, its primary activity is conducted through extensive and lengthy litigation–and you lawyers are expensive, no? 

          Speaking of, I think the Center’s leader Mr. Dees draws about $250k in salary and benefits, which seems to be a fairly modest amount for a someone of his record and stature. 

          I know the FBI once did a good job against the Klan in the Mississippi Burning days but today, I’d say the SPLC helps keep the (AQ terrorist-obsessed?) Bureau aware and involved about other hate groups. 

          Unfortunately, there are still plenty of people who hate; fortunately, there are probably more of us who “hate haters!”

    • I really don’t think RF intentionally leaves out portions of an article to slant it his way. He always links to the full article and those of us interested in doing so can go read it.

      It’s funny that they define a militia, by reference, as a group who “sometimes use and buy illegal weapons”. Doesn’t the 2A provide that weapon use by militias is legal?? Isn’t that the gun grabbers big 2A “gotcha”?

      Heres a strategy for dealing with freemen: As long they are minding their own business leave them the fuck alone. They don’t want to be oppressed. And neither do I. It’s all a matter of degrees. I seriously doubt that collecting vehicle sticker fees and income tax from freemen is gong to rescue this shitty economy. Getting rid of the real criminals and useless alphabet soup of govt agencies harassing peaceful citizens will go a lot farther.

      So many pro rights people talk a big game, but as soon as someone, or a group of people, actually put up a serious resistance to having their rights denied they become extremists, anarchists, and militias. This country was built by freemen and gradually ruined by what is the present day govt.

      Is this a militia?:

      Why not? Because they pay taxes? Or is it because no politician in his right mind would target them.

      Painting the cops, in general (not ALL, or anyone specific this time), as fools and bad guys isn’t really an issue. It’s more of a self portrait.

      I wanted to take out my naughty words, but there is no edit function ;-p

  3. Uhm ok…
    Well I respect the laws in my state and nation, I might not like them and think they need changes but I obey them.. Guess I am safe lol
    If this were Europe in the later 30’s it is a scary concept. We ren’t really sure what they are tracking or why. If I say I hate a certain law it doesn’t mean I am breaking or not recognizing the government, it is my opinion, and I might email my law maker in what ever branch to change it.

      • I should have added some sarcasm emoticon to that remark.
        Of course none of us are safe!

    • If they are going after people for “filling out paperwork” what makes you think they won’t go after you for emailing your representative?

      • Matt I am sure we are all on some list somewhere.
        As open minded as I am the trends over the last few years have been disturbing to say the least.

  4. The “Sovereign Citizens” are a bunch of harmless kooks. If the feds want to investigate some truly dangerous extremists, I suggest they start with Nancy Pelosi.

    • +1 How though do the ‘Feds’ investigate dangerous extremists when the dangerous extremists are the ‘Feds’?

    • Gotta disagree with ya Ralph. I have had the “pleasure” of dealing with some sovereign citizens in a professional capacity. These people believed that if it wasn’t in the Constitution then they didn’t have to abide by the law. Their leader was pulled over in a vehicle with fake “sovereign nation” license plates, multiple pounds of marijuana and two handguns. He was a felon on the Federal level and didn’t waste time sicing his cronies on us with all sorts of threats. The coup de gras was when he started pressuring his people to threaten our lives (in case anyone is wondering, jail phones are tapped). They were not just trying to live their lives and avoid the government, they wanted a fight and felt this nation’s laws didn’t apply to them. It’s a dangerous combination.

      • Boo hoo Mr. Officer, just to let you know, but you’re worse than them. Our nations laws for the most part don’t apply to LEOs thanks to Limited Immunity. Cry me a river, at least they don’t feed their countrymen to the prison industrial complex, and then demand a pension.

        • Oh Matt, you know nothing about me. I don’t make broad assumptions about you based on your comments. That’s professional courtesy. 😉

        • if you saw me in real life when you were on the job, i’m sure you’d make plenty of assumptions. all the cops i’ve encounter have except one, and that was because it was her first day on the job, and her partner was all ready being a d1ck

      • He had some weed and some hand guns? And the will to resist the war on plants and the war on self defense? No vehicle sticker fee either? DAMN! Was there at least a dog around to shoot? I can see your indignation when he had the gall to call his buddies for backup. They should all be rounded up and thrown in a big ghetto prison with a wall around it. I’ve heard of that being done before and it worked pretty well… for a while. That way if they get mouthy you can burn the whole thing down.

      • Ryan, I know that they’re douchebags. Does that make them a national security issue? If they were left wing douchbags, would law enforcement be bothering with them?

        • No I’m with you on that Ralph. I don’t see them as a threat to national security at all, they dont have the organization or know how IMHO to do anything more than cause trouble at a local level, which is what my experience stems from. I see where you were going with “harmless kooks” now.

  5. It seems to me the sovereigns mainly want independence from govt and as little interaction with govt as possible. I see that as in the best interest of the govt as well, if left alone these individuals will isolate themselves and be unlikely to be a danger to anyone.

  6. I just typed a long response and it did not post. Did it all over and it did not post. Now this goes up??

    • your probably hitting a spam filter. if you use works like fukc, cutn, kock, post a lot of links, etc

      • Thanks matt. I’ll try again. My original post was a reply to Justin.

        I don’t think RF intentionally leaves out parts to slant a story. The links to the whole story are always there for anyone interested to read more than space here dictates.

        Here’s a strategy for dealing with freemen that are minding their own business: Leave them the fvck alone. They don’t want to be oppressed and neither do I. It’s a matter of degrees. Many pro rights folks talk a big game, but as soon as a person or group mounts a serious resistance to oppression they are labeled extremists, anarchists and militias. Collecting vehicle stickers and income tax from freemen will not save this $hitty economy. Disbanding the alphabet soup of govt agencies harassing us will go a lot farther.

        Is this a militia?:

        No? Because they pay taxes? Or is it because they are too historically close to the real issue for politician to touch? Freemen are a much easier target in the war on our rights.

        This country was built by freemen and was gradually ruined by the govt that we are stuck with today. And painting the cops in general ( not ALL, or anyone specific this time) as fools and bad guys isn’t really an issue. It’s more of a self portrait.

        There. I feel better now.

      • The term “oxymoron” indicates the presence of some deeper truth.

        Does the term “sovereign citizen” contain a deeper truth (that I am missing)?

  7. Hmmm. Let’s see, loose to little leadership, little to no regard for authority and a propensity for illegal firearms. Seems like they painted the perfect picture of the large body of professional criminals in this nation. You know, the ones who actually do kill citizens and cops on a daily basis. The time, money and effort would be better spent focusing on the true domestic terrorists we know as criminals instead of groups of folks that talk a lot but do very little.

  8. “…they operate as individuals without established leadership and only come together in loosely affiliated groups to train, help each other with paperwork…”
    Those damned terrorists filling out paperwork! What will they do next?!?

    • Gosh darn it they might run for office!!! lol
      Hey they filled out paperwork that is more than most of our politicians do!

  9. Part of being American is freedom. Freedom to be Gay or Straight. Freedom to be Jewish, Muslim, or Buhdist. Freedom to believe that our government is ass backwards. Yes These guys push it a little but to be honest, if they aren’t hurting anyone then why not leave them alone.
    Sure I can understand not having valid tags on your car, or being caught with a large amount of drugs might be an issue. Terry Nichols took it to a level where he acted out. Not against a specific person, but a symbol. That symbol housed children and adults who were not directly hurting or otherwise threatening him. It was a sad event and one I hope to not see repeated.
    Honestly I think the government needs to look at lone wolf suspects, gaining direction from over seas. There are terrorist groups which are alive and well in Asia and South America. They are growing in strength and looking towards us as a target. And lord knows the drug cartels are a clear and present danger to the united states and should be dealt with accordingly.
    I don’t always feel our laws make sense but I certain try and abide by them as best I can.
    Part of what this administration has done is wedge us apart. I believe in heated debate in the government. People should be passionate about what they believe. The problem is when government refuses to hear all the opinions, and then takes steps to make sure opinions can not be expressed freely.

  10. Don’t we all seek to eliminate government intrusion from our lives as much as possible?

    It seems to me that these “sovereign citizens” are just going about it in a stupid way. Making your own license plate is just silly. I work in a school, and we would immediately identify that child as a little kid in search of attention, and that’s how we would approach it.

    A much better way to hold government at arm’s length, or better yet, on the other side of the impressive stone walls surrounding your estate, would be to make friends with (or become) the government. Then all you have to do is get the government to change the rules such that you are now exempt from them. But that would require a lot of money.

    The rest of us just pay our bills, buy a silver Camry, shun vanity plates, and hope for the best. As the great Epicurus said: “Lathè biósas!” “Live your life out of view!”

  11. You mean CENSORSHIP??? Just kidding. I changed a couple naughty words and got it up. Thanks guys.

    • Spam filter. LOTS of spam. Not so much time. I’ve released your original comment. Let’s leave them all up. If your comment gets eaten in future, please feel free to ping me at [email protected]. Sorry. And thanks for your patience and patronage.

  12. Here’s a thought: Government, per se, is not the problem. Lots of my lefty relatives think I’m anti-government because I don’t want them bleeding me dry with taxes and telling me what kind of toilet to flush. Frankly, the cruelest form of government is anarchy. Remember Somalia and Rwanda?

    The Constitution’s Preamble makes a good statement of proper government–establish justice, domestic tranquility, the common defense, promote the general welfare, secure the blessings of liberty. Those are proper things for government to do. That doesn’t mean government needs to be in my bathroom too.

    But when the Toilet Nazis are more worried about you, or even about a few domestic dingbats, than about Islamist terrorists who killed more Americans on American soil than any foreign attackers since the War of 1812, there’s a problem.

    • a key word there is “foreign” attackers. And when you think about it 3k people is rather insignificant. they got what they deserved, they supported a interventionist government and they could have fought back, but for some reason they though Chuck Norris was going to save them.

        • Americans attack each other with alarming frequency, didnt TTAG just do a article about how Chicago is more dangerous than Afghanistan? And plenty die every year from heart attacks (or other preventable causes) because they stuffed one too many freedom fries in their mouth. 3k people dieing from terrorism on US soil since 1812 is insignificant.

          So according to US law, it is illegal to financially support a terrorist org because they commit extra judicial executions, but if you financially support the US gov’t who commits extra judicial executions (bin laden & wife, that American al queda guy – Ralph can name him, every drone strike, collateral damage, etc) youre an upstanding citizen?


  13. Lots of people believe lots of crazy things, unless the government has a.minority report or some kind of evidence they should leave people alone and stop paying “experts” for “training”

  14. Apprently a Gadsden flag sticker on your vehicle is a green light for the Killer Robots to open fire at a traffic stop, and say they thought you were a terrorist.

  15. So many flames. A guy goes out to fix the swamp cooler and misses a whole conversation.

  16. I’m sure there are several labels that could be used to describe “sovereign citizens” but “terrorist” is not one of them.
    The FBI link cites three examples of crimes committed by these people & not one of them is a terrorist act.
    Fraud, theft & tax evasion yes, but terrorism?
    The only reason I can think of for the FBI labelling them thus is that it enables them to use certain methods that would not be sanctioned in an ordinary criminal case.

    I’m sure those convicted also count to the FBI’s “dangerous terrorists taken out of circulation” scorecard, leading to bonuses & promotions for all those involved.



    • I don’t know how close it comes to classic terrorism but we has a couple of traveling Sovereign Citizens do a number on our cops in West Memphis, Arkansas. Two patrolmen pulled over a minivan on an exit ramp of I-40 with a father and son in it. The sixteen year old son killed the two officers with an SKS. The father drove on down the ramp into town and ducked into an apartment complex long enough to switch plates. Then they drove to a nearby WalMart. Meanwhile the local Sheriff and his chief deputy piled into a car to go looking for “Sovereign Daddy and Son”. Somehow the Sheriff managed to forget his sidearm or any other weapon. As luck would have it the chief deputy found the killers. The shoot out did not go well. Something about remembering to bring a gun to a gunfight. Both of the lawmen survived but not by much. It was the Sheriff’s last day on the job. The chief deputy has retired also. A conservation agent driving through the WalMart parking lot happened onto the mess and floored his truck, ramming the minivan in the drivers side hard enough to total it out. Other police coming to the aid of the Sheriff finished the two “Citizens” off. The West Memphis Police Chief was the father of one of the slain officers. He now travels nationally to train leo’s about the Sovereign Citizen Movement. I would not attempt to tell him they are “harmless people who just want to be left alone”. On the other hand I don’t know the degree others in the movement applaud the actions of the father and son. Guilt by association may be going on here.

      That said, we have some obligations in life. Paying taxes, keeping insurance and plates on the buggy are a few. Sometimes people in government go out of their way to screw with people who just want to be left alone. Ruby Ridge and Waco come to mind. If you want to think of yourself as truly sovereign, the more quietly you do it the longer the feeling will last. The rest of us will get by with no such delusions.

      Regarding the SPLC, please note in their lexicon there is no such thing as a liberal or left wing “hate” group. The anti fur, anti logging, anti drive down the road with an internal combustion engine groups don’t make the grade. You can torch all the car dealerships you want, the SPLC will not condemn you. It their mind there is a conservative ideologue but no such thing as “liberal”. This is why liberals insist there is no liberal bias in the news media. “Liberal” simply does not exist as a group of left leaning thinkers.

  17. I am a constitutionalist. I believe that the second amendment exists so that power may rest with the people. I also believe that this entails a terrible responsibility for the people to use violence when tyrannical government asserts itself in a way that subverts the will of the people and infringes upon their rights as outlined in the constitution. That being said, I obey the laws even when they are illegal (yes, there are a number of illegal local ordinances in my city), and I hold the sanctity of life of Americans in the highest regard. I have no desire to take life, but if the government illegally infringes the rights of the American people as codified in our constitution and this results in government crackdowns, then yes, they will certainly need to worry about me. The feds, fearing for their lives, will necessarily label such people as terrorists. This is natural, and allows them to justify trampling our rights. Just remember that if the feds lose that battle, then we won’t be called terrorists: We’ll be called patriots.

    Remember: What we are will be defined by whomever wins. But let’s hope it never comes to that.

  18. The problem is that people, excuse me GOOD people disagree on where freedom ends and begins and where tyranny ends and begins.

    But I would suggest that if you wish to live in a free country, you have to:

    1: allow others to be as long as they don’t infringe on the rights of others..
    2: cannot initiate force against someone.

    I obey all the laws b/c I like staying out of prison.

    But the point is that if I do not like a law or even disagree with it on a moral ground, what am I to do? Can’t just change it b/c that requires votes…so in essence I’m now a slave to the ruling class. Don’t think so? A slave is defined as being ‘subject to another’. so there you have it.

    THe funny thing is that people accept the status quo of laws as they get worse and worse and more and more….and controlling…and anyone who says hey wait buddy/prez/congress you can’t do that b/c it’s not in the Constitution is somehow labeled extreme? I don’t get this?

    They do whatever they want (the debt, Fast and Furious scandel) etc. and nothing happens to them.

    But the slaves, we’re here to be fleeced, we produce they take, through taxation and unconstitutional agencies.

    Most people have no real freaking clue what freedom truly, TRULY means.

    When I took my oath to the Constitution I meant it….

    You either believe in freedom or you don’t. If you think that the gov. is the end all, well then hell, why not just have a king or queen? what’s the difference, they all vote the same anyway, rep. or dem. the gov. grows, takes liberties, and spends money.

    we do need a government….just a small one that doesn’t initiate threats of force against it citizens…

    Think about that…government supposedly protects us from violence and iniatory force and robbery by initiating force, violence, and taxation on us.

    That said, there are tons of good people, well meaning people in government, I’ve met them.

    The true test is….is the law based on love and freedom, or fear and tyranny…….

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