Several groups are demanding the arrests of cattle rancher Cliven Bundy, some of his family members and their biggest supporters. 8 News NOW sat down with Bundy at his Bunkerville ranch Tuesday evening.
He says he is not concerned about getting arrested and remains defiant.
“I’m not gonna’ ever let the federal government come here and abuse me, and my ranch, and my cattle and the public again,” he said.
He says he will continue to use the land in rural Clark County that he fought the government over nearly two years ago.
Two of his sons are fighting a similar battle in Oregon, where they (along with armed supporters) refuse to leave a federal refuge.
“Of course, they’re saying (the federal government), ‘You have no jurisdiction or authority here. Get out of here,’” Cliven said. “Somebody has to stand up, and it happened to be my sons that stood, and they will stand. They’re not going to give up.”
On Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada state lawmakers, Native American tribe members and others called for action from the U.S. Department of Justice.
“What is happening up north is disgusting,” one tribe member said.
“It’s embarrassing to all Nevadans that we are exporting our homegrown terrorists into another state,” said Nevada Assemblyman Elliot Anderson (D-Clark County).
“If they want to call me a terrorist, they can call me a terrorist,” Cliven Bundy said. “But, I’ll tell you one thing. I’m American, and I believe in the Constitution of the United States.”
The groups demanded the arrests of Cliven Bundy, his sons and their supporters. Cliven Bundy says he’s not worried.
“I don’t believe anyone’s going to pay attention to them, but I still welcome them to try to do their thing. That’s their right,” he said.
Some argue backing down from the Bundys and their supporters could set a dangerous trend.
The federal government has long accused Bundy of letting his cattle graze illegally on public land near Bunkerville. Bundy, for years, has refused to pay grazing fees to the government – claiming he has ancestral rights to the land.
In April 2014, the Bureau of Land Management moved in on Bundy’s cattle and the land he used in Bunkerville. Bundy refused to leave, and an armed standoff ensued that pitted federal and local authorities against Bundy and his armed supporters.
The federal government backed down over concerns a bloody shootout would occur. The issue, however, remains unsettled.
“We have really enjoyed our freedom and liberty out here and enjoyed the land, and that’s what the Bundy standoff was all about. It was to give access to the people, and I would be able to continue ranching and tradition,” Cliven Bundy said.
The group Battle Born Progress led the press conference Tuesday and has started a petition to urge the Department of Justice to take action.
While Bundy insists he is not worried, he says he has a bodyguard. He tells 8 News NOW the bodyguard is not there for protection, but to be a witness in case anything happens to him.
Cliven Bundy says he talks to his sons in Oregon at least daily. When asked if he thinks there will be a violent struggle if police in Oregon try to arrest the protestors, Bundy says he doesn’t think that would happen.
He says his sons have a lot of support despite efforts by locals in Oregon to get them to leave.