DHS Guide to Militia/Extremists
Homeland Security Reference Aids, prepared by I&A, provide baseline information on a range of homeland security issues. This product is one in a series of reference aids on violent domestic and foreign extremist groups that assess the nature and scope of the threat they pose to the Homeland. This product is intended to support federal, state, local, and tribal agencies and authorities with responsibilities relating to homeland security to assist in the deterrence, prevention, preemption of, or response to terrorist attacks against the United States.
The violent militia extremist movement in the United States is comprised of a collection of distinct, but organized, paramilitary groups that have engaged in violent criminal activities and terrorism-related plots to advance their anti-government beliefs. Individual violent militia extremists have been convicted of a range of firearms and explosives violations and criminal conspiracy charges. The violent militia extremist movement is a subset of the larger militia movement; many groups and individuals involved in the overall militia movement do not commit criminal or violent acts.
The violent militia extremist movement peaked in membership in 1996 and then steadily declined due to negative publicity after it was erroneously linked to the Oklahoma City bombing and as a result of increased law enforcement scrutiny. After several years of significant decline in membership and violent criminal activity, the violent militia extremist movement has rebounded in the past few years as new groups have formed and new recruits have joined its ranks.