According to the Southern Poverty Law Center: “Steven T. “Duke” Boehle, of Austin, was arrested on April 12 after federal agents and local police searched a residence in that city where three handguns and 1,100 rounds of ammunition were seized. A second search carried out at a rental storage unit leased by the suspect turned up 10 rifles, according to various media reports. When Boehle was arrested the day before the planned attack, FBI agents found “an expletive-laced note taped to [his] front door that read, ‘The great miracle will take place at 8:30 a.m. on Holy Thursday,’” the newspaper reported. Further information, “Because of a 1993 conviction for domestic violence in New Haven, Connecticut, he can’t legally possess firearms. Boehle apparently believed those federal firearms laws didn’t apply to him — a cornerstone for sovereign citizens who live in their own make-believe, antigovernment worlds where licensing, laws and regulations are generally ignored.”
Sources indicate that sovereign citizens are selective of the laws they follow, and according to their theory, the county sheriff has the most power because the county sheriff is the most important legal authority anywhere. The idea that the county sheriff is the ultimate authority comes from the legal idea of “Posse Comitatus” Latin for “force of the county.” The sovereign citizens like to invent new meanings for legal concepts and generally make or interpret laws that agree with their personal feelings about what laws should be followed. Sovereign citizens are under the impression that they are not responsible for taxes, as taxes are illegitimate. The sovereign citizens do not recognize federal law and generally spout white Christian conspiracy-minded beliefs about certain individuals taking over the government and taxes being illegal or unconstitutional.
I could go into the ideology and the sovereign citizens, but why bother. Suffice to say that they believe that the federal government is illegitimate, and that only local governments have, or should have the power. There is other minutia to this, but it is an explanation that is not worth reading.
The FBI has classified some of the sovereign citizens as “domestic terrorists” and even more dangerous than Islamic extremists. Using very sloppy interpretations of case law, ignoring the context of the law and ignoring cases that disprove their theories, the sovereign citizens offer “advice” to other citizens who similarly don’t want to pay taxes and are unhappy with the government. The sovereign citizens become, well, whatever they think they are, by giving up their driver’s license, Social Security number, car registration, birth certificate, anything that identifies them with the government. After they have given up all of the things that would identify them as citizens, the sovereign citizens file, or attempt to file a document that renounces their citizenship, claiming to be only a citizen of the state where they live to any naïve county clerk they can convince to take it.
The “document” submitted to renounce citizenship has no standing in any court in the land, and not being responsible for various laws because they are “sovereign citizens” has not held up in any court. The court records speak for themselves, but for those who wish to look them up, Johnson v. Commissioner failed, Wikoff v. Commissioner failed, United States v. Hart failed, Young v. Internal Revenue Serv. failed, and Stoecklin v. Commissioner failed. All the aforementioned cases failed for the courts to recognize their immunity from taxes while they claimed to be a “sovereign citizen.”
First of all, sitting in your safe home in America makes it easy to say you are not a citizen of the federal government. Undeniably, however, the federal government is why you can sit in your safe home in America. The federal government is the one with the troops, bombers, aircraft carriers and missiles that has held off all challengers, although there have been some successful sneak attacks. If the sovereign citizens wish to emigrate to, say, China, or Russia, or North Korea, or even Canada or Mexico, they are fee to do so, where they can quite conspicuously renounce their citizenship. The sovereign citizens want to stay here, safe in America, and declare their independence from a government that has protected them and their property. I will be the first to admit that they might not have been protected as well as they could been, but they also (if not convicted of a crime that denied the right) had the right to keep and bear arms with which to protect themselves and their property.
The sovereign citizens want to stay here in America and have it their way. There are some sovereign citizens in Australia as well, the media says. The United States does not declare people to be “non-citizens” who meet the requirements to qualify as citizens, and yet some people are seeking to de-citizen or uncitizen themselves. Even the most horrific of criminals are still citizens. Citizenship can be a matter of choice, but that scenario is mostly when a citizen decides to emigrate to another country and become a citizen of that country. The sovereign citizens wish to just stay here and renounce citizenship, be relieved of taxes and obey only the laws they choose to obey, a sort of smorgasbord of laws chosen instead of the obligations imposed by the laws of the land. One of the best cases against the sovereign citizens is the “let’s all do that” example, where everyone just picks and chooses the laws to follow and the taxes they pay, and in general they do as they please. This is not a recipe for any kind of successful government.
As a democracy, the U.S. has changed a lot in its lifetime. Consider that the Constitution has been amended twenty-seven times. If enough of us agree, we can vote and change things, or elect people who will change things. The sovereign citizens want to change things, and the government has (theoretically) no objection to that, but deliberately not paying taxes claiming that you are exempt and filing claims in court as to why the taxing authorities are in error is not making a passing grade for the sovereign citizens. The sovereign citizens would be better off consulting tax lawyers and finding loopholes rather than inventing supposedly legal documents that will not hold up in court. The path they have been taking has not been working, and losing in court numerous times would prompt most sane people to seek another path. Inventing "legal documents" that are nothing more than gibberish, swearing in "deputies" of your own "government" is no way to change a government. Sovereign citizens have the right to vote, the right to free speech. They need to apply the tools given to them by the government, or as some have said, love it or leave it. See how things go declaring yourself independent in Russia, China, Mexico or Canada.