London, Mar. 6 : The number of anti-US government "patriot" groups, including paramilitary hate organizations, had reached an all-time high in 2012, a new report has revealed.
The report issued by the Southern Poverty Law Center stated that the upsurge of the groups was fanned by President Barack Obama''s reelection and talk of gun control following the elementary school massacre in Connecticut, reports the Huffington Post.
According to the report, Patriot groups - dedicated to federal government overthrow in the belief it will confiscate weapons and impose socialism - expanded in number and size for the fourth consecutive year.
The groups'' recruiting was fueled by the sluggish economy, anxieties about the country''s shifting demographics and their ability to push their ideas and conspiracy theories into the mainstream, the report said.
The growth intensified at the end of 2012 with the election and the school massacre, the report added.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a Montgomery, Alabama-based nonprofit that monitors hate groups and crimes, said in a letter to U. S. Attorney Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano that patriot groups now hold the potential for a wave of domestic terrorism.
The group''s letter urged federal officials to create a new task force to assess federal resources devoted to the threat.
Mark Potok, the law center''s chief hate group and hate crime investigator, said that patriot groups have been classified by the law center as hate organizations because their anti-government sentiment is almost always paired with racism, ranging from fear of everyday crime to a looming race war.
The law center found 1,360 patriot groups in 2012 -- an 813 percent rise since 2008, the year before Obama took office.
Of those groups, 321 constitute militias. The law center also found a near-record 1,007 hate groups with animus directed at minorities, gay men, lesbians, and transgender individuals in 2012. (ANI)