‘IS IT SCARY? IT SURE IS’…. Conservatives in at least one state inch just a little closer to pure, mid-19th-century madness.

Frustrated by recent political setbacks, tea party leaders and some conservative members of the Oklahoma Legislature say they would like to create a new volunteer militia to help defend against what they believe are improper federal infringements on state sovereignty.

Tea party movement leaders say they’ve discussed the idea with several supportive lawmakers and hope to get legislation next year to recognize a new volunteer force. They say the unit would not resemble militia groups that have been raided for allegedly plotting attacks on law enforcement officers.

“Is it scary? It sure is,” said tea party leader Al Gerhart of Oklahoma City, who heads an umbrella group of tea party factions called the Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance. “But when do the states stop rolling over for the federal government?”

A constitutional law professor at the University of Oklahoma noted in response, “Have they heard of the Oklahoma City bombing?”

The discussions about this armed force that would apparently resist U.S. officials were described by the AP as “exploratory.” That’s the good news, I guess. The bad news is these discussions between right-wing extremists, including some in the state legislature, have actually happened.

Their vision, apparently, would be a privately-recruited militia, with the blessing of the state legislature, that would be armed and trained. Armed and trained by whom? The details are a little fuzzy.

Nevertheless, one of the Republicans’ gubernatorial candidates insisted that the 2nd Amendment authorizes states to create armed militias that would be available to confront the American government.

The mind reels.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.