Q:

How do you become a sovereign citizen?

A:

There is no legal basis for becoming a sovereign citizen. Such a person believes he has a right to disobey any law that he sees fit at any time, according to JJ MacNab for Forbes. A sovereign citizen believes he is above all government laws and often cites archaic laws such as the Magna Carta or religious freedom in the Bible.

The Southern Poverty Law Center explains that the root of the sovereign citizen movement goes back to the early 1980s when white supremacists and anti-Semites gathered to protest the inclusion of blacks and Jews as U.S. citizens. Many sovereign citizens also believe personal freedoms and common law trump so-called admiralty law, or laws of the sea, that supposedly keep U.S. citizens as permanent slaves to the government. Passage of the 14th Amendment, and the removal of the gold standard in 1933, are cited as reasons that sovereign citizens disobey laws of the United States.

The FBI listed sovereign citizen extremism as a "domestic terrorist movement" after several members of this loose association committed murders, terrorist acts and white-collar crimes. Terry Nichols, one of two men convicted of plotting the Oklahoma City bombing of April 19, 1995, is considered a sovereign citizen. Three sovereign citizen extremists in Kansas City were convicted of passing fake credentials when they charged ordinary people $450 to $2,000 for phony diplomatic credentials. These cards identified Americans as sovereign citizens, supposedly exempt from laws.


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