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Template:Use mdy dates Template:Infobox civil conflict The Bundy standoff is a 20-year legal dispute between the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and cattle rancher Cliven Bundy in southeastern Nevada over unpaid grazing fees that eventually developed into an armed confrontation between protesters and law enforcement. The dispute began in 1993, when in protest against changes to grazing rules, Bundy declined to renew his permit for cattle grazing on BLM-administered lands near Bunkerville, Nevada. In 1998, Bundy was prohibited from grazing his cattle on the Bunkerville Allotment by the United States District Court for the District of Nevada in United States v. Bundy. In July 2013, the BLM complaint was supplemented when federal judge Lloyd D. George ordered that Bundy refrain from trespass on federally administered land in the Gold Butte, Nevada, area in Clark County.
On March 27, 2014, 145,604 acres of federal land in Clark County, Nevada were temporarily closed for the "capture, impound, and removal of trespass cattle". A trespass cattle roundup commenced on April 5, an arrest was made on April 6. On April 12, a group of protesters, some of whom were armed advanced on what the BLM described as a "cattle gather." Sheriff Doug Gillespie negotiated with Cliven Bundy and newly confirmed BLM director, Neil Kornze, who elected to release the cattle and de-escalate the situation.
After making remarks discussing whether black people would be better off as slaves than under government subsidies, Bundy was widely condemned in mainstream media, and was repudiated by Republican politicians and talk-show hosts that had previously supported him, many of whom forcefully condemned his remarks as racist.
- 1 Background
- 2 United States v. Bundy
- 3 Court judgments against Bundy's claims
- 4 Bureau of Land Management actions
- 5 Confrontations and protests in April 2014
- 6 Aftermath
- 7 Bundy family background
- 8 Notes
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The United States purchased land from Mexico in 1848 known as the Mexican Cession (the southwestern region of the U.S.) as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The Nevada Territory, which was partitioned in 1861 from the Utah Territory, became a state in 1864. Since then, the US government has continuously owned land in Nevada, including the Bunkerville Allotment. Federal rangelands in Nevada have been since 1934 managed principally by either the Bureau of Land Management, its predecessor the United States Grazing Service, or the United States Forest Service. Currently, 56,961,778 acres of land in Nevada are managed by the BLM. Over 18,000 grazing permits and leases are known to exist on BLM managed public lands. Season of use and forage use are stipulated on the permits and leases; grazing control can be targeted.
Under BLM permits first issued in 1954, Bundy grazed his cattle legally and paid his grazing fees on an area of public land surrounding Bunkerville called the Gold Butte area in Clark County until 1993. But when grazing rules were changed reducing his allowed number of cattle to 150, a number that he claimed would put him out of business[no citations needed here], he protested the decision by declining to renew his grazing permits due February 28, 1993. Though the agency made several attempts to allow Bundy to renew his permit, Bundy declared that he no longer recognized the BLM's authority to regulate his grazing and asserted that he had "vested rights" to graze on the land. Federal courts have consistently ruled against Bundy, finding that he is a trespasser with no right to graze cattle on federal public land and authorizing the BLM to remove his cattle and levy damages for unauthorized use. Bundy has since accumulated more than $1 million of unpaid grazing fees and court-ordered fines.
Bundy does not recognize and will not submit to federal police power over land that he believes belongs to the sovereign state of Nevada. He said "I abide by all Nevada state laws. But I don't recognize the United States government as even existing." Bundy also denies the jurisdiction of the federal court system over Nevada land, and filed an unsuccessful motion to dismiss the BLM legal case by claiming the federal courts have no jurisdiction over his case because he is a "citizen of Nevada, not the territory of Nevada". Bundy also believes contrary to the Nevada State Constitution, that federally-owned land in Nevada actually belongs to the state. According to The Guardian, Bundy told his supporters that "We definitely don't recognize [the BLM director's] jurisdiction or authority, his arresting power or policing power in any way", and in interviews he used the language of the Sovereign citizen movement, gaining the support from members of the Oath Keepers, the White Mountain Militia and the Praetorian Guard militias. The sovereign citizen movement believes that the U.S. Government is illegitimate, and it is considered by the FBI as the nation’s top domestic terrorism threat.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks anti-government and hate groups, says that Bundy's views are closely aligned with the those of the Posse Comitatus, who believe that county and state authority are above the federal government, and that Jewish cabals of bankers control national power. They also assert that self-ascribed "patriot" groups are focused on secession, nullification, state sovereignty, and the primacy of the 10th Amendment, and their views overlap with other groups organized around hate.
Grazing on US federal rangeland in Nevada
Laws that apply to management of public land grazing include the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 (TGA), the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the Endangered Species Act of 1973, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, the Public Rangelands Improvement Act of 1978, and the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. In 1933, Edward T. Taylor, a Representative from Colorado, reintroduced a bill to set up the grazing bureau or service in the Department of Interior to administer range lands. The TGATemplate:Efn regulates grazing on public lands (excluding in Alaska) to improve rangeland conditions. The Grazing Service was merged with the General Land Office in 1946 to form the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), managing about 167 million acres (676,000 km²) of publicly owned rangeland in the United States, with the United States Forest Service managing approximately 95 million acres (380,000 km²) more. Permittees on federal rangelands are required to pay a fee, and the permit cannot exceed ten years but is renewable.[no citations needed here]
United States v. Bundy
Template:Infobox United States District Court case The case of United States v. Bundy played out over many years in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada. It involved court orders, injunctions, and notices. Bundy argued pro se that the land belongs to the state, while the Bureau of Land Management was represented by the US Attorney's Office for Nevada and the United States Department of Justice. The court ruled that the land on which Bundy was grazing his cattle was indeed owned by the federal government, that he had not been paying to use it as he should have been, that Bundy and his cattle were trespassing, and that the government had the right to enforce the injunctions against trespass. The court found that Bundy repeatedly violated the court orders and continued to have his cattle trespass.
Legal actions, 1998–2012
United States v. Bundy "arose out of Bundy’s unauthorized grazing of his livestock on property owned by the United States and administered by the Department of the Interior through the BLM and the National Park Service." On November 3, 1998, United States District Judge (USDJ) Johnnie B. Rawlinson "permanently enjoined (Bundy) from grazing his livestock within the Bunkerville Allotment ('The Allotment'), and shall remove his livestock from this allotment on or before November 30, 1998... (and) ordered that Plaintiff shall be entitled to trespass damages from Bundy in the amount of $200.00 per day per head for any livestock belonging to Bundy remaining on the Bunkerville Allotment after November 30, 1998." Rawlinson stated that "[t]he government has shown commendable restraint in allowing this trespass to continue for so long without impounding Bundy’s livestock." This sentence was restated on October 8, 2013, by USDJ Larry R. Hicks. On September 17, 1999, after Bundy failed to comply with the court's earlier order(s), the court issued another order directing Bundy to comply with the 1998 permanent injunction and modifying the trespass damages owed.
Legal actions, 2012–14
The cattle expanded into additional public lands over the years. In May 2012, the United States again initiated United States v. Bundy,Template:Efn seeking relief for Bundy's trespassing on a new set of additional lands not covered by the original 1998 ruling: "including public lands within the Gold Butte area that are administered by the BLM, and National Park System land within the Overton Arm and Gold Butte areas of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area." On December 21, 2012, the United States moved for summary judgment in this new case.[no citations needed here] This motion was granted in an order signed by Senior USDJ Lloyd D. George on July 9, 2013. The George court ruling permanently enjoined Bundy and his cattle from trespassing on the New Trespass Lands. Another order was issued by the Hicks Court on October 8, 2013, which stemmed from the earlier 1998 civil action against Bundy. The orders allow the United States to "protect the ... Bunkerville Allotment against ... trespass" by Bundy and "to seize and remove to impound" any of his cattle that remain in those areas.
Court judgments against Bundy's claims
The Cliven Bundy family owns a 160-acre farm southwest of Bunkerville, which serves as headquarters and base property for the family's ranching operation on nearby public domain lands. The farm property was purchased by the Bundy family in 1948, after they moved from Bundyville, Arizona, and Bundy has claimed that he inherited "pre-emptive grazing rights" on public domain land because some of his maternal grandmother's ancestors had kept cattle in the Virgin Valley beginning in 1877. Bundy alternatively argued in legal cases that federal grazing rules infringe on his states' rights.
Claim of inherited grazing rights
Template:Refimprove section There are no legally-recognized inherited grazing rights, pre-emptive rights, special rights, or grandfathered public domain land use rights held by the Bundy family or Bundy's ancestors. Bundy lost his special rights arguments in the United States v. Bundy cases. Bundy had only base property and normal AUM grazing allotment permits, like the permits of thousands of other ranchers throughout the western United States. The court found that Bundy and his father actually first began grazing their cattle on the Bunkerville Allotment in 1954, and used it for several years. They paid for cattle grazing again from 1973 until 1993, when Bundy paid the last grazing fees for his last grazing application for December 1, 1992, through February 28, 1993. On January 24, 1994, the BLM delivered a Proposed Decision Order to Remove and Demand for Payment to Bundy by placing it on the dashboard of Bundy's vehicle while he was in the vehicle. BLM officials allege that Bundy became agitated, walked out of his truck and accused the BLM of harassing him. He then returned to his truck, threw the decision out of the window, and drove away. One of Bundy's sons then picked up the decision, tore it into pieces and threw it on the ground. On February 17, 1994, the BLM issued a final decision canceling Bundy's ephemeral range grazing permit. Bundy subsequently informed the BLM in several administrative notices that he intended to graze cattle "pursuant to my vested grazing rights." Bundy failed to demonstrate the existence of any such special rights when given an opportunity to do so in court.
Claim on states' rights
Bundy lost in US District Court on all his arguments regarding states' rights and jurisdiction in the United States v. Bundy cases. He had argued that the US District Court for the District of Nevada lacked jurisdiction because the United States does not own the public lands in question. The court ruled that "the public lands in Nevada are the property of the United States because the United States has held title to those public lands since 1848, when Mexico ceded the land to the United States." Bundy argued that the Disclaimer Clause of the Nevada Constitution carries no legal force.
Bundy also argued that the United States' exercise of ownership over public domain lands violates the Equal Footing Doctrine, that the Article Four Property Clause of the US Constitution applies only to federal lands outside the borders of states, that the United States based its authority to sanction Bundy for his unauthorized use of public domain lands on the Endangered Species Act as opposed to trespass, and that Nevada's open range statute excuses Bundy's trespass. These arguments were all rejected by the court.
Bureau of Land Management actions
The BLM was tasked with environmental assessment and various enforcement issues regarding the cattle trespass injunctions. During March–April 2014, it closed some areas of government lands during the planning for roundup of the trespass cattle owned by Bundy. In early April, "just before the roundup got underway, a survey conducted by helicopter counted 908 head of cattle scattered across roughly 1,200 square miles of remote mountains and desert managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service." The BLM stated on its website:
Cattle have been in trespass on public lands in southern Nevada for more than two decades. This is unfair to the thousands of other ranchers who graze livestock in compliance with federal laws and regulations throughout the West. The Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service have made repeated attempts to resolve this matter administratively and judicially. An impoundment of cattle illegally grazing on public lands is now being conducted as a last resort.
A page on the BLM website, since removed, listed the impacts of trespass cattle owned by Cliven Bundy. Among these are risks to people driving on roadways, destruction of crops in private property, damage to community property in Mesquite, negative impacts on city facilities in Bunkerville, destruction of archaeological artifacts, and unauthorized reservoir construction. The regional off-site mitigation strategies of non-governmental organizations are also delayed for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone, and a matching $400,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation to restore habitat for the Southwest Willow Flycatcher along the Virgin River is delayed on the condition that trespass cattle be removed by Bundy.
BLM preparations and execution
A closure (effective March 27, 2014 to May 12, 2014), of the public lands known as Gold Butte, Mormon Mesa, and Bunkerville Flats Areas was approved by the Department of the Interior on March 24, 2014. Additionally, the Federal Record states: "This temporary closure is necessary to limit public access, use, and occupancy during an impoundment of illegally grazing cattle to ensure the safety and welfare of the public, contractors, and government employees."
The project area consisted of 802,571 acres, primarily composed of The Bunkerville Allotment 145,604 acres and the New Trespass Lands 451,775 acres, portions of project area are managed under The Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and the National Park Service. Template:Rp Not all of the public areas would be closed at the same time if operations were moved to another location.
Public and media relations
The BLM designated two First Amendment zones "...for members of the public to express their First Amendment rights: I–15 and Exit 112 for Riverside and State Route 170 and White Rock Road."   However, only one of the two First Amendment zones would be open at any one time at the daily discretion of the, "Incident Command staff". A third area, I–15 and Toquap Wash (between mile marker 114 and 115), was designated as a media area and "...BLM/NPS credentialed media..." could request tours by appointment inside the enclosure area to obtain b-roll video, no live feed and satellite trucks allowed. Template:Rp 
Free speech and no fly zones
Template:Unreliable sources While filming what Bundy claimed was "over 200" BLM Enforcement Rangers and Special Agents from outside a First Amendment zone, Dave Bundy was arrested for failure to disperse and resisting arrest. He was released on April 8. 2014.Template:RsTemplate:Rs Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval released statement concerning the free speech zones:
Due to the roundup by the BLM, my office has received numerous complaints of BLM misconduct, road closures and other disturbances. I have recently met with state legislators, county officials and concerned citizens to listen to their concerns. I have expressed those concerns directly to the BLM.
Most disturbing to me is the BLM’s establishment of a 'First Amendment Area' that tramples upon Nevadans' fundamental rights under the U.S. Constitution. To that end, I have advised the BLM that such conduct is offensive to me and countless others and that the ‘First Amendment Area’ should be dismantled immediately. No cow justifies the atmosphere of intimidation which currently exists nor the limitation of constitutional rights that are sacred to all Nevadans. The BLM needs to reconsider its approach to this matter and act accordingly.
— Governor Brian Sandoval, April 8, 2014 
Government contractors using horses and a small helicopter succeeded in penning almost 400 trespass cattle from April 5 to 9, 2014. "According to state brand inspectors, almost 90 percent of the cattle rounded up by midweek bore Bundy's brand. Of the remaining animals, five belonged to a neighboring rancher, four were marked with brands that couldn't be read, and the rest were slicks, a ranching term for unmarked livestock." On April 17, the BLM confirmed that a cow and a bull owned by Bundy were put down for posing "a significant threat". A state brand inspector said the bull "might have got frightened, but that's no reason to shoot a bull." Another said that bulls sometimes charge at people, adding that it takes "a pretty good-size weapon" to kill Bundy's breed of bull.
After the roundup was suspended due to public safety concerns, BLM spokesman Craig Leff said the agency would continue to try to resolve the matter "administratively and judicially." Leff said, "The door isn't closed. We'll figure out how to move forward with this," and "The BLM and National Park Service did not cut any deal and negotiate anything."
Confrontations and protests in April 2014
In late March, Bundy sent letters entitled "Range War Emergency Notice and Demand for Protection" to county, state, and federal officials. In media interviews, Bundy used the language of the sovereign citizen movement as a rallying call, beckoning support from members of the Oath Keepers, the White Mountain Militia, and the Praetorian Guard. In early April, armed individuals and private militia members from across the United States joined peaceful protesters against the trespass cattle roundup in what has become known punningly as the Battle of Bunkerville. BLM enforcement agents were dispatched in response to what were seen as threatening statements by Bundy, such as calling the events a "range war". There was no armed battle.
With many roads closed to ensure safety during the cattle removal, designated First Amendment areas where protesters could safely congregate or exercise their First Amendment right to peaceably assemble were marked with signs and orange plastic fences adjacent to the road. On April 8, 2014, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval issued a statement calling for the removal of the First Amendment restrictions he described as offensive. After stating that peaceful protests had crossed into illegal activity, the federal agencies allowed protesters to go anywhere on the public land as long as they were peaceful.
On April 9, during a confrontation between the BLM and protesters, Bundy's son Ammon kicked a police dog and was tasered by officers, according to the Washington Post and The Spectrum of St. George, Utah. Template:Failed verification
April 10 confrontations and protests
On April 10, protesters crowded around a convoy to find out why a BLM truck was being used. Bundy's sister was pushed to the ground by a law enforcement officer. One protestor struck a truck and blocked it with his all-terrain vehicle. Officers protecting the civilian truck driver had Tasers and police dogs. The protesters angrily confronted the rangers. According to CNN, "Federal officials say a police dog was kicked and officers were assaulted. Bundy family members say they were thrown to the ground or jolted with a Taser."
April 12 confrontations and suspension of roundup
On the morning of April 12, a heavily armed crowd rallied under a banner that read "Liberty Freedom For God We Stand". Camouflaged militiamen stood at attention, communicating with earpieces. Most had signs, many of which chided "government thugs". Addressing the protestors, Bundy said, "We definitely don't recognize [the BLM director's] jurisdiction or authority, his arresting power or policing power in any way," and "We're about ready to take the country over with force!" After the BLM announced a suspension of the roundup, Bundy suggested blocking a highway. Armed protesters blocked a portion of Interstate 15 for over two hours, causing traffic backups for three miles in both directions. Protesters also converged at the mouth of Gold Butte, the preserve where the cattle were corralled, where a tense, hour-long standoff ensued. BLM rangers warned over loudspeakers that they were prepared to use tear gas. Former Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack, who was with the protesters, controversially said that they were "strategizing to put all the women up at the front. If they are going to start shooting, it's going to be women that are going to be televised all across the world getting shot by these rogue federal officers". Protestors took position on a highway overpass, seemingly offering cover as horse-mounted wranglers led protesters to face off against heavily equipped BLM rangers and snipers.
Las Vegas Metro Deputy Chief Tom Roberts defused the situation by announcing that Bundy's cattle would be returned within 30 minutes. The BLM announced that it would suspend the mass roundup, citing safety reasons. Clark County Sheriff Gillespie mediated the agreement between the Bundy family and the BLM, saying, "[W]hen a group of protesters threaten civil unrest or violence in this county -- it is my job to step in and ensure the safety of citizens." BLM Director Neil Kornze said Saturday, "Based on information about conditions on the ground, and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public."
BLM spokesman Craig Leff stated in an email that "The gather is over" but that the agency planned to seek a solution "administratively and judicially" and intended to pursue court action to collect more than $1 million in back grazing fees owed by Bundy.
Las Vegas police stated that business owners in Mesquite had received threats because of the conflict. Militiamen were reportedly seen seen carrying high-caliber weapons, keeping a round-the-clock security detail on Bundy, and setting up checkpoints.
On April 19, 2014, Bundy spoke about witnessing a civil disturbance, the 1965 Watts riots. Bundy described his views about unhappiness at that time and criticized what he saw as government interference and its influence on African Americans. He recalled later seeing a public housing project in North Las Vegas where some of the older residents and the kids sat on the porch. He said: "They didn't have nothing to do ... they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do? They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I've often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn't get no more freedom. They got less freedom."
In reference to Mexican people, he said, "[t]hey come over here against our Constitution and cross our borders, but they're here, and they're people ... Don't tell me they don't work, and don't tell me they don't pay taxes. And don't tell me they don't have better family structures than most of us white people."
Ben Swann questioned whether Bundy's "inarticulate" comments were given a "truthful representation", and published a 3 minute 13 second video segment that includes the comments preceding, and following, the abbreviated quote published by Adam Nagourney of the New York Times.
Ranking Democratic Senator Harry Reid condemned the Bundy statement and said Bundy had "revealed himself to be a hateful racist. But by denigrating people who work hard and play by the rules while he mooches off public land he also revealed himself to be a hypocrite... It is the height of irresponsibility for any individual or entity in a position of power or influence to glorify or romanticize such a dangerous individual... For their part, national Republican leaders could help show a united front against this kind of hateful, dangerous extremism by publicly condemning Bundy."
A number of Republican politicians and talk-show hosts who previously had supported Bundy, forcefully condemned his remarks as racist, including junior NV Senator Dean Heller, who previously had described Bundy defenders as "patriots”, and Senator Rand Paul who also previously had supported Bundy. On April 23, Heller said through a spokesperson that he "completely disagrees with Mr. Bundy’s appalling and racist statements, and condemns them in the most strenuous way". On April 23, Bundy defended his comments by saying "the statement was right".
Sean Hannity, who supported Bundy in his Fox News talk show, interviewed Bundy several times, and called him "a friend and frequent guest of the show", said that Bundy's remarks were "beyond repugnant". Glenn Beck criticized Bundy's comments, saying that the rancher is "unhinged from reality" and urged his supporters to "end your relationship" with him.
According to Geoffrey Lawrence, deputy policy director at the Nevada Policy Research Institute, Bundy lost his personal credibility with his racist remarks, but argues that the discussion about Federal land use in the West should not be abandoned, and that Congress should act to correct the “harsh and unfair federal misuse of state lands”.
Reactions by public officials
On April 15, 2014, a group of Republican state legislators from Arizona, including Representatives Bob Thorpe (R-Flagstaff), David Livingston (R-Peoria), Kelly Townsend (R-Mesa), Senators Judy Burges (R-Sun City West), and Kelli Ward (R-Lake Havasu City) traveled to Mesquite, Nevada, to support Bundy in his standoff with the BLM.
Public officials reacted to the confrontations and protests. Governor Brian Sandoval sided with Bundy, saying "No cow justifies the atmosphere of intimidation which currently exists nor the limitation of constitutional rights that are sacred to all Nevadans. The BLM needs to reconsider its approach to this matter and act accordingly."
Arizona Representative Kelly Townsend said that the scenes at the ranch amid the dispute gave her a "visceral reaction... It sounds dramatic, but it reminded me of Tiananmen Square. I don’t recognize my country at this point." Her colleague, Bob Thorpe of Flagstaff, said that he was with about three dozen other state legislators to question federal and Nevada officials.
US Senator Dean Heller of Nevada complained of federal actions during the standoff, saying, "I told him (BLM Director Neil Kornze) very clearly that law-abiding Nevadans must not be penalized by an over-reaching BLM". After the resolution he stated, "emotions and tensions are still near the boiling point."
Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, who supported Bundy, aiding him with his returned calves, said, "It's time for Nevada to stand up to the federal government and demand the return of the BLM lands to the people of Nevada."
After the BLM left the area for safety concerns, Nevada's Senior Senator to US Congress and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, "Well, it’s not over. We can’t have an American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it. So it’s not over." Reid also referred to the militia supporting Bundy as "domestic terrorists".
On April 19, 2014, Texas Republican Steve Stockman sent a letter to President Barack Obama, Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, and BLM Director Neil Kornze, stating that the BLM was overreaching its law enforcement authority with what he called a "paramilitary raid."Template:RS
Nevada Congressman Steven Horsford contacted Sheriff Doug Gillespie regarding complaints by community members, of Bundy armed militia supporters "establishing a presence" and setting up a checkpoint against residents of the Bunkerville area.
On May 1, 2014, Republican Sen. Dean Heller said that Bundy should pay the BLM the more than $1 million in grazing fees owed to the agency.
Republican Representative Chris Stewart (R-Utah) decried the BLM and other agencies for staffing their departments with what he called “paramilitary units” and “SWAT team[s]”. However, the Bureau of Land Management does not have a SWAT team, according to The Salt Lake Tribune, which editorialized that Stewart's views "may be one of the worst ideas in the history of bad ideas." In response, a BLM agency’s spokeswoman said that the BLM doesn’t have any SWAT or tactical teams. An Interior Department representative said that the BLM “had law enforcement personnel present to provide safety for their employees and the public".
Reactions from media
Template:Expand section Media personalities have weighed in on the confrontations. During the standoff, Bundy was interviewed (via remote link) by television host Sean Hannity. Hannity stated that some fear events could wind up mirroring the Waco siege and Ruby Ridge and said, "This is public land, and it’s not being used, in my mind, and I'm not a rancher, (but) I would think the federal government might be thankful because you're cutting the lawn for free, and they're charging huge amounts of money, right, to let your cattle graze there with these fees".
Editorial responses from newspapers have been mixed. The Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote that the BLM was right to defuse the situation, but that the confrontation showed the problems of federal land ownership in the state and called for the federal government to sell off the land in question. The Casper Star-Tribune wrote that Bundy was cheating taxpayers, an "embarrassment to ranchers in Wyoming and across the West who work hard, pay their taxes and maintain good relationships with managers of federal land on which their cattle graze."
Reactions by Bundy and supporters
About 1,500 Bundy supporters attended a celebration on April 18, where they ate Bundy beef, read cowboy poetry, and wore "domestic terrorist" name tags, referencing a comment made by Nevada Senator Harry Reid. Bundy said he would continue holding a daily news conference.
Some protesters termed the standoff as the Battle of Bunkerville, although there was actually no armed battle.
Some Tea Party Movement supporters expressed solidarity with the Bundys, including three Southern Nevada Tea Party groups that organized a protest outside Las Vegas police headquarters on April 11, 2014, claiming that Sheriff Doug Gillespie had failed in his duty to protect Nevadans from abuse by the federal government.
The Bundy family claimed victory on having its cattle returned. In an interview after the BLM's withdrawal, Sean Hannity asked Bundy if he had a reply to Senator Harry Reid's comment that the situation was not over. Bundy said, "I don't have a response for Harry Reid, but I have a response for every county sheriff across the United States. Disarm the federal bureaucrats."
After militia leader Mike Vanderboegh, the founder of the Three Percenters group which remained at Bundy’s ranch after federal officials attempted to impound trespass cattle, allegedly made threats to Senator Harry Reid, and accused him of provoking a “civil war”, a spokesman for the US Capitol Police, said the they were investigating these threatening statements as part of an ongoing investigation.
At a Bunkerville town hall meeting on May 1, 2014, residents and council members praised the militias and expressed their frustration with the BLM, the Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie, and the media.
On May 2, 2014, Bundy and his family filed a complaint with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department alleging crimes committed by federal agents, including illegally blocking roads, harassing photographers, using attack dogs, pointing weapons and threatening people.
Legal and rule-of-law reactions
Atlantic reporter Matt Ford pointed out that Bundy's claim, "I abide by all of Nevada state laws. But I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing," is at odds with Nevada's law, specifically the state's constitution. Framed during the Civil War, Nevada's constitution specifically mentions the rights of the federal government, stating in Article 1, Section 2, "The Paramount Allegiance of every citizen is due to the Federal Government in the exercise of all its Constitutional powers as the same have been or may be defined by the Supreme Court of the United States...whensoever any portion of the States, or people thereof attempt to secede from the Federal Union, or forcibly resist the Execution of its laws, the Federal Government may, by warrant of the Constitution, employ armed force in compelling obedience to its Authority."
The Salt Lake City Tribune published an editorial on April 15 entitled "Bundy is a lawbreaker, not a hero", in which it said, "Don't let him get away with it" and "The only winner in this was a scofflaw who has twice lost in the courts for running cattle where they don’t belong and skipping out on grazing fees. Some 20,000 ranchers in Western states abide by BLM regulations, so what makes Bundy special?" To sum it up, the Tribune said, "When some manage to avoid justice by extralegal means, the rule of law is weakened for all Americans."
Some of Bundy's neighbors were not impressed by his actions. "I feel that the rule of law supersedes armed militias coming in from all over the country to stand with a law-breaking rancher, which is what he is", Mesquite resident Elaine Hurd told local television station KLAS.
Roger Taylor, a retired BLM district manager in Arizona, said the agency's decision to release the cattle would have repercussions. "The (agency) is going to be in a worse situation where they will have a much more difficult time getting those cattle off the land and getting Bundy in compliance with regulations," he said.
Dallas Hyland, in his column in Utah's St. George News, wrote, "The stand-down was necessary to prevent bloodshed, but it must be recognized that if Bundy and a multitude of his supporters, militia friends, and even family members who broke the law, are allowed to go unpunished, anarchy will follow. In the case of Bundy and the Gold Butte designations, the government did it right. They continued to do it right in the face of the lawless behavior of a rancher and his militia henchmen."
Shoshone history and reactions
The year prior to Nevada being admitted to the Union, the US signed the Treaty of Ruby Valley, recognizing the Western Shoshone as owners of large portions of their original territory. In 1979, the Indian Claims Commission awarded the Shoshone $26 million in compensation for land lost to “settler encroachment”, whose settlers would include the ancestors of Cliven Bundy. The tribe refused to cede the lands for payment at that time, as it was slated to be used for nuclear testing. 
In comparison to the outcome in the Bundy case, the Dann sisters, Mary and Carrie, who also refused to pay grazing fees on this land, claiming that this was acknowledged to be Shoshone land. The land was invaded by agents of the BLM, and cattle seized with a fine of $3 million. A petition was lodged with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (the "Commission”) against the United States of America by the Indian Law Resource Center in defense of the Dann sisters. The Commission concluded that the State failed to ensure the Danns’ right to property under conditions of equality contrary to Articles II, XVIII and XXIII of the American Declaration in connection with their claims to property rights in the Western Shoshone ancestral lands.The cattle were auctioned off by the BLM the next day. The United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination criticized the U.S. for human rights violations, but no further action taken.
Political commentary reactions
David Damore, a political science professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said that there is "a great ability on the part of these folks to overlook the reality of how much the federal government subsidized Nevada in terms of big projects – the Hoover Dam, the mining subsidies. It's a welfare cowboy mindset."
The nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity stated, "Despite having no legal right to do so, cattle from Bundy's ranch have continued to graze throughout the Gold Butte area, competing with tortoises for food, hindering the ability of plants to recover from extensive wildfires, trampling rare plants, damaging ancient American Indian cultural sites and threatening the safety of recreationists."
Rob Mrowka, also with the Center for Biological Diversity, said that the BLM "is allowing a freeloading rancher and armed thugs to seize hundreds of thousands of acres of the people's land as their own. It's backing down in the face of threats and posturing of armed sovereignists."
Environmentalists held that the BLM's withdraw sent the wrong message to law-abiding ranchers who do secure grazing permits and operate within the law.
Bundy family background
The Bundy family purchased their farm outside of Bunkerville in 1948; the farm would serve as headquarters and base property for their ranching operation, which began in 1954, on federal land. They had moved to the area from Bundyville, Arizona (near Mount Trumbull). Cliven Bundy's father, David Bundy, was born in Bundyville in 1922. David Bundy had married Margaret Bodel Jensen of Bunkerville, and after starting a family in Arizona, they purchased their property outside of Bunkerville in 1948.
Cliven had argued in court that his "Mormon ancestors began working the land in the 1880s". This argument has basis in Cliven's maternal grandmother's ancestral line, but not among his paternal or other maternal lines. Cliven's mother's father, John Jensen, was born in Utah, but her mother, Abigail Christina Abbott, was born in the Bunkerville/Mesquite area. Abigail Christina Abbott's parents, both born in Utah, were among early settlers of Bunkerville/Mesquite in the 1880s; this includes lines from the Leavitt and Abbott families. These early families moved in and out of the area on several occasions, and polygamous marriages meant some wives and their families were kept in different towns. As such, there is no continuous line of family births and habitation in Bunkerville/Mesquite from Cliven Bundy to the few ancestors who settled the area.
Leavitt family connection
Bundy's maternal family had some connection to Bunkerville through his ancestor, Dudley Leavitt, a Canadian who moved to Utah after joining the LDS Church.Template:Efn After marrying wives in Utah in 1853, 1855, 1859, 1860, and 1872 and selling his Gunlock, Utah, property, he moved to Bunkerville, Nevada. The original location he settled was south of Mesquite, 2+1/2 mi northeast of present-day Bunkerville. The community was named after Edward Bunker, Sr., the leader of the group of 23 men (the United Order) who originally agreed to move west. All property was originally shared in common, which caused great strife within the community. The communal property was then divided up, with Dudley expressing displeasure at his small portion.[no citations needed here] He then moved from the community across the river to Mesquite by 1881. When the Virgin River flooded, he moved again and was contracted to carry mail across a 180 mi round-trip distance from St. George, Utah, to St. Thomas, Nevada.[no citations needed here] He placed his five families in various locations along the route. The family of Mary Jane Leavitt (Cliven Bundy's great-grandmother) was kept at Leavittville, Arizona.
Abbott family connection
Cliven Bundy's great-great-grandfather was Myron Abbott.Template:Efn He left Ogden Canyon, Utah, to join Edward Bunker, Sr., in forming the United Order, serving as teacher of the workers and as the second counselor to Bunker, who was made bishop of the community. After the United Order dissolved, Abbott spent his time plowing and tending farmland, in addition to transporting salt from St. Thomas to Santa Clara, Utah. His son, William Abbott, married Dudley Leavitt's daughter Mary Jane Leavitt at the St. George Utah Temple in 1890; Cliven Bundy's maternal grandmother, Abigail Christina Abbott, was their child. William Abbott traveled through the United States on Mormon missions and served as the bishop of the Mesquite Ward from 1901 to 1927. He wrote the story of his family settling in Mesquite and his missions across the United States in The Story of My Life, an autobiography and family biography.
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- EDITORIAL: BLM’s cattle battle ends — for now, Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 16, 2014
- Editorial board: Dismiss Cliven Bundy for what he is -- a guy trying to dodge a bill, Casper Star-Tribune, April 28, 2014
- Ryan Gorman, Dan Miller, Meghan Keneally, Jessica Jerreat (April 11, 2014). "Federal agents back down in stand-off with armed cowboys". Daily Mail. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2603026/Senator-speaks-favor-Nevada-rancher-militias-join-battle-federal-agents-accused-acting-like-theyre-Tienanmen-Square-fight-disputed-ranch-land.html#ixzz2yviN9Qo7.
- Arnold M. Knightly (April 11, 2014). "Cliven Bundy supporters bring cattle roundup protest to Las Vegas police headquarters". Las Vegas Review-Journal. http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/cliven-bundy-supporters-bring-cattle-roundup-protest-las-vegas-police-headquarters.
- Dobson, Jennifer (April 13, 2014). "Nevada ranching family claims victory as government releases cattle". Yahoo! News
- "Cliven Bundy on Harry Reid: 'I Don't Think There's Any Hope for Him, He Needs to Be Kicked Out of Office'". Fox News. http://nation.foxnews.com/2014/04/15/cliven-bundy-harry-reid-i-dont-think-theres-any-hope-him-he-needs-be-kicked-out-office.
- "Bundy supporters accuse Harry Reid of provoking civil war". RT. 1 May 2014. http://rt.com/usa/156192-bundy-civil-war-reid/. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
- Raju, Manu (28 April 2014). "Police investigating Cliven Bundy-related threats to Harry Reid". Politico. http://www.politico.com/story/2014/04/cliven-bundy-harry-reid-threat-106106.html. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
- "Bunkerville residents sound off about BLM, police, media". Fox 5 Las Vegas. 1 May 2014. http://www.fox5vegas.com/story/25409893/bunkerville-residents-sound-off-about-blm-police-media?clienttype=generic&mobilecgbypass. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
- [Cliven Bundy's Family Takes Grazing Fight to Sheriff "http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/rancher-taking-grazing-fight-vegas-sheriff-23563084"]. Associated Press. 2 May 2014. Cliven Bundy's Family Takes Grazing Fight to Sheriff. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
- [Bundy family, supporters file criminal complaints against BLM "http://www.jrn.com/ktnv/news/Bundy-family-planning-to-file-criminal-complaints-against-BLM-257650131.html"]. ABC13 News. Bundy family, supporters file criminal complaints against BLM. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
- Matt Ford (April 14, 2014). "The Irony of Cliven Bundy's Unconstitutional Stand". Atlantic. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/04/the-irony-of-cliven-bundys-unconstitutional-stand/360587/.
- Salt Lake City Tribune, newspaper. "Editorial: Bundy is a lawbreaker, not a hero". Salt Lake City Tribune. http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/57822839-82/bundy-government-americans-constitution.html.csp. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
- Fuller, Jaime (April 15, 2014). "Everything you need to know about the long fight between Cliven Bundy and the federal government". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/04/15/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-long-fight-between-cliven-bundy-and-the-federal-government/. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
- Dobner, Jennifer (April 13, 2014). "Nevada ranching family claims victory as government releases cattle". Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/13/us-usa-ranchers-nevada-idUSBREA3B03Q20140413. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
- Hyland, Dallas (April 13, 2014). "On Kilter: Bundy won, America lost". St. George News. https://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2014/04/13/kilter-bundy-won-america-lost-1/. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
- Sebelius, Steve (April 16, 2014). "Let’s be honest about what Bundy is, and is not". Las Vegas Review-Journal. http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steve-sebelius/let-s-be-honest-about-what-bundy-and-not. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
- Brad Knickerbrocker (April 13, 2014). "Nevada range fight revises 'Sagebrush Rebellion'". The Christian Science Monitor. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2014/0413/Nevada-range-fight-revives-Sagebrush-Rebellion.
- "BLM tries to resolve conflict with ranchers". Associated Press. April 14, 2014. http://www.redding.com/news/2014/apr/14/blm-tries-resolve-conflict-ranchers/.
- Bundy family tree
- Paresh, Dave. "Citing armed protesters, BLM returns seized cattle to Nevada rancher". LA Times (LA Times). http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-blm-cattle-nevada-rancher-20140412,0,2071818.story. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
- NBC, News (April 14, 2014). "Timeline: History of land dispute between Cliven Bundy and the BLM". NBC News. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/54954100/. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
- "Cliven D Bundy". Genealogical Database. http://www.leavittfamilies.org/cgi-bin/igmget.cgi/n=Leavitt?I53693. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
- "Dudley Leavitt, Pioneer to Southern Utah by Juanita Brooks, 1942 page 76". https://archive.org/details/dudleyleavittpio00broo.
- "Dudley Leavitt, Pioneer to Southern Utah by Juanita Brooks, 1942 p. 84". https://archive.org/details/dudleyleavittpio00broo.
- Myron Abbott: An Enduring Legacy Immigrant Pioneers. Utah State University Special Collections Library page 3-5 
- "Abbott, William Elias, 1869-1949". Google Web Cache. Retrieved April 24, 2014.