Bundy and his family were accused of leading an armed uprising against federal agents near their ranch in Nevada four years ago. Their case was eventually thrown out – and the Bundys continue to defend their actions.
Just a few days after his case was dismissed, Ammon Bundy is speaking out.
He and his family were accused of leading an armed uprising against federal agents near their ranch in Nevada four years ago.
KTVB’s Morgan Boydston and photojournalist Troy Colson spoke with Ammon Bundy on Friday at his home in Emmett to find out if he still stands by his actions and why.
Bundy was reflective and steadfast in defending both armed standoffs he was a part of and led – the high-profile one in Nevada in 2014 and the armed militant occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon in early 2016.
In both cases, the ranchers and militia leader, Ryan Payne, were not charged.
“If we allow the federal government to blatantly just disregard the very charter that organized them then what’s going to keep them intact on everything else,” Ammon Bundy told KTVB on Friday. “It’s very important that when we see they are overstepping their bounds – no matter what it is – that we put them back in that box.”
Ammon, his brother Ryan, and their father, Cliven Bundy, continue to defend their 2014 armed standoff with federal authorities near their family ranch in Nevada that resulted in a trial. That trial ended earlier this week with the case and criminal charges being dismissed.
NBC News reports Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro dismissed criminal charges against the Bundys and heavily criticized prosecutors for what she called “willful” violations of due process rights of defendants and failing to properly turn over evidence to their lawyer.
“To be able to actually have a district court judge say that just vindicates that the reason why we did this was not to pick a fight. We did it because we knew there was an issue here and it needed attention to it,” Bundy said. “They just flat out lied. They basically came to kill our family, they surrounded us with snipers. And then they wanted to lie about it all like none of it happened. And they were caught.”
The Bundys led the standoff against agents who wanted to seize Cliven’s cattle over decades of unpaid grazing fees.
“[Cliven’s] 15 second defense is that this isn’t federal land, he doesn’t graze cattle on federal property, and that he doesn’t have a contract with the federal government. So therefore he doesn’t owe grazing fees and they have no jurisdiction – making him no party, and making the federal government no party,” Bundy said. “My family has grazed there for 141 years this year and we have vested property rights deeded with the State of Nevada and the federal government will not recognize them because they say ‘we own the land.’ “
The government claims the Bundys recruited armed supporters to stand with them, which they did not.
Authorities eventually backed down but Cliven was arrested a couple years later.
Then in January 2016, Ryan and Ammon led a high-profile armed occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon, where government agents assassinated unarmed Lavoy Finicum on his way to speak with a Sheriff to end the standoff.
The two were sent to prison, but a jury acquitted them of that case in October.
When KTVB’s Morgan Boydston asked if they feel they went about it in the proper way to get their point across, Bundy said:
“Well there was a couple things about that: one is we had to do something to bring attention to what they were doing to the Hammonds and to Harney County. And so we peacefully went into the refuge on a weekend when we knew no one was going to be there. The refuge is 35 miles out of town we didn’t want to completely interrupt the whole community and we made that stand there. And we felt it was important we do it there because that was the entity and group of people that were doing these vindictive actions towards the people of Harney County.
“So then the militia: There’s a ton of people that supported us, that understand and know that the Second Amendment is part of their rights. We also know the Constitution the Second Amendment says that a well-regulated militia being necessary for the security of a free state. And then third – if there is a third – we knew that if we didn’t have some type of presence of saying, look we’re serious here, they were just going to raid us and drag us out about six-to-eight hours after we were in there and we would have never been able to make a stand or a statement.
Read the rest of the interview with KTVB here or watch the video below.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
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