[January 22, 2024] I heard about sovereign citizens while watching crime videos. They often show up in popular traffic stop videos because they claim they are exempt from state or federal law. Of course, that makes for an entertaining video, as they are often dragged out of their vehicle and arrested.
According to the FBI, sovereign citizens are considered part of an “extremist movement.” Perhaps that is an extreme view since most are not violent, but the movement is composed of those who believe that while they live in a country, they are not subject to the laws of that country because they are free men and women, thus ‘sovereign.’
“The sovereign citizen phenomenon is one of the main contemporary sources of pseudolaw. Sovereign citizens believe that courts have no jurisdiction over people and that the use of certain procedures (such as writing specific phrases on bills they do not want to pay) and loopholes can make one immune from government laws and regulations. They also regard most forms of taxation as illegitimate and reject Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses, and vehicle registration.” – Sovereign Citizen Movement in Wikipedia
This movement is not going away. It is believed that the movement has significantly expanded in the U.S. due to the recent recession, mortgage crisis, and the C19 pandemic. Estimates are that 100,000 Americans are hard-core sovereign believers, with another 200,000 who are dabbling in the movement. These numbers come from the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has a problem with the truth.
Sovereign citizens often follow the teachings of a “guru” or act on their own. By disobeying rules they see as not legitimate, they often conflict with the government, most often with law enforcement agencies, the judiciary, and the revenue services. We often see sovereign citizens violating traffic laws by refusing to use driver’s licenses, license plates, or register or insure their vehicles. This is why we see so many videos of them on the Internet.
Law Enforcement Officers are well-versed in sovereign citizen tactics. See “9 things to prepare for when encountering sovereign citizens.” The article has significant entertainment value, but LEOs need to be cautious when approaching them because they can be dangerous.
To see what I mean by entertainment, go to the YouTube channel of Van Balion, who devotes his videos to sovereign citizens’ interaction with LEOs. You won’t be disappointed.
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