Anti-Government Groups On the Rise - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Anti-Government Groups Rise After Obama Re-Election, Gun Control Proposals

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President Obama speaks during a meeting with Congressional representatives. The president’s election and gun control proposals are spurring growth in antigovernment groups. (File Photo). President Obama speaks during a meeting with Congressional representatives. The president’s election and gun control proposals are spurring growth in antigovernment groups. (File Photo).

President Obama's re-election and debates about gun control are spurring unprecedented growth in anti-government groups, according to a new report released Wednesday.

The report prepared by the Southern Poverty Law Center claims radical conspiracy-minded antigovernment "Patriot" groups reached an all time high in 2012.

The Law Center report claims the increase in the groups is creating a real threat for another domestic terrorist attack like the April 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City.

"As in the period before the Oklahoma City bombing, we now are seeing ominous threats from those who believe that the government is poised to take their guns," SPLC President Richard Cohen wrote in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

The Center reports claims there are 1,360 Patriot groups last year - 813 percent more than when Obama first took office.

Mark Potok, senior fellow at the Center and author of the report, says the growth in the groups presents a real danger to country, according to statement on the Law Center's website.

"We are seeing a real and rising threat of domestic terrorism as the number of far-right antigovernment groups continues to grow at an astounding pace," Potok said. "It is critically important that the country take this threat seriously. The potential for deadly violence is real, and clearly rising."

Critics, including some identified on the list, claim the Center's report is exaggerated and that most of the groups are peaceful and are being targeted by the Center for their political views.

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