MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A civil rights group that tracks extremist groups warns that President Obama’s tenure and the gun control debate after the Connecticut school shooting have led to surging numbers of anti-government “patriot” groups.
The Southern Poverty Law Center on Tuesday reported the rising numbers as it released its annual report on extremist groups.
The number of patriot groups, one category of extremist organizations tracked by the center, has risen dramatically over the past four years, from 149 groups in 2008 to 1,360 today.
Senior Fellow Mark Potok says the December school shooting and subsequent gun control debate created a “white-hot rage” among extremist groups.
He says the political climate is “very reminiscent” of the period leading up to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.