The people behind The Citadel project, who are hoping to build a walled prepper community in Idaho, touted a milestone last week: the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has given them the green light to start manufacturing firearms.“In this afternoon’s mail, III Arms Company received a little note from the ATF saying: ‘Thanks for your interest, please start building firearms,'” Jim Miller, the company’s president, wrote on the company’s blog last Thursday. “Yup. The III Arms Company now possesses our ‘Manufacturer of Firearms Other Than Destructive Devices’ License, otherwise known as an 07FFL, and we can legally manufacture and assemble your firearms. Oh yeah, happy days!”
The ATF license is an important step for The Citadel project. Organizers are hoping that proceeds from the gun business will underwrite the construction and development of the community, which is envisioned as a place for 3,500 to 7,000 “patriotic American families” who want to be ready for society’s collapse, and who want to live around more guns and fewer liberals in the meantime.
ATF records accessed online on Monday confirmed the license issued to Millerized LLC, a company Miller registered in August in West Virginia, which does business under the name III Arms Company. (An apparently separate company called III Arms Company LLC was registered in Idaho in August, and lists Holly Kerodin, another key Citadel organizer, as an officer.)
III Arms began taking orders in November for both AR-15 type semiautomatic rifles and 1911 pistols. Both guns start at a base price of $1,550. A disclaimer on the company website warns that delivery timelines are currently subject to “great uncertainty due to the current political climate and parts availability.” The ATF license, though, allows the company to start fulfilling orders.
“This step takes us from a mostly conceptual stage to a real world planning stage,” a Citadel organizer, who blogs under the names Vernon and VJ, wrote Friday on The Citadel’s blog. “This will change the nature of our blog, somewhat. Most of our planning discussions will move to our private forum. We still welcome your ideas and information that you think may be helpful to the project. There’s lots of good information and ideas out there that we might not be aware of. We will keep you updated on our progress, of course. However, we now have much better things to do with our time than to argue with those who just want to criticize us, so we aren’t going to.”
For Miller, the ATF license provided a certain amount of vindication — the Citadel project has drawn criticism from a number of other preppers and separatists. Included in his blog post last week, Miller uploaded a picture in which he is holding up the license paperwork in one hand and flashing his middle finger with the other hand.
“This is the last nail in the coffin for those who told us it couldn’t be done,” Miller wrote in the post. “You could have been a part of it, but no……you cried to your masters, and you failed them. You and your strap hangers sullied (at least attempted to) our names on blogs and sites around the world, and you all failed. You didn’t even have to balls to publish how I was going to make it work when you first got your panties wadded up. Instead you cried like a whiny little bitch who didn’t get their way….. and you failed yet again.”
Miller also revealed some bits of information about The Citadel’s recent wave of publicity. According to Miller, web hits on the Citadel’s blog surpassed 160,000 in late January, and hits to the III Arms company site “have been almost as numerous.” III Arms sales “increased exponentially during the past 2 weeks.”
Miller did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TPM.