Number of Hate Groups Reached All-Time High in 2012

President Obama's re-election and talks of gun control have brought the growing numbers.

Posted: 03/06/2013 11:29 AM EST

There has been a sharp rise in anti-government "patriot" groups since the election of President Obama in 2008, according to a study issued Tuesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The number of these organizations reached an all-time high of 1,360 in 2012.

There were 149 organizations before Obama took office in 2008. That amount shot to 512 by 2009, 814 in 2010, and jumped to 1,274 in 2011. The study attributes the rise of "hate groups" to Obama's presence in the oval office and the recent push for gun control laws following shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The SPLC provides a "hate map" on its website, pinpointing the locations of organizations they categorize as hate groups. But some critics believe SPLC is too broad for including political organizations that oppose illegal immigration, gun control, gay rights and other issues.

Writes the SPLC:

For many, the election of America’s first Black president symbolizes the country’s changing demographics, with the loss of its white majority predicted by 2043. (In 2011, for the first time, non-white births outnumbered the births of white children.) But the backlash to that trend predates Obama’s presidency by many years. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of hate groups rose from 602 to more than 1,000, where the count remains today. Now that comprehensive immigration reform is poised to legitimize and potentially accelerate the country’s demographic change, the backlash to that change may accelerate as well.

While the number of hate groups remained essentially unchanged last year — going from 1,018 in 2011 to 1,007 in 2012 — the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) count of 1,360 Patriot groups in 2012 was up about 7% from the 1,274 active in 2011. And that was only the latest growth spurt in the Patriot movement, which generally believes that the federal government is conspiring to take Americans’ guns and destroy their liberties as it paves the way for a global “one-world government.” From a mere 149 organizations in 2008, the number of Patriot groups shot up to 512 in 2009, jumped again to 824 in 2010, and then skyrocketed to 1,274 in 2011 before hitting their all-time high last year.

See the full report here

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