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“We had information they were planning an attack in April 2010 so we made the decision to take them down,” Ms. McQuade said of the Hutaree Militia raid. “I think it was the right decision then and it was the right decision now. If you wait too long, you may risk lives.”

Mr. Kay, who has studied the growth of the militia movement in the United States, said it is tough to put a figure on their numbers today, but he says there are far fewer and they are far less dangerous than in the early 1990s.

“I would not be in fear of them at all. They seem to be everyday sorts of people who go into the woods and use guns to shoot things. Most enjoy guns, and hopefully see themselves mainly as being prepared to defend their families,” he said.