29 April 2023
Clark County resident Cliven Bundy, who owns a cattle ranch in Bunkerville, led an armed confrontation against the Bureau of Land Management in 2014.
Bundy, who argues that his right to the land predates the federal government’s, refused to pay more than $1 million in grazing fees and fines racked up since 1992. As a result, the bureau began rounding up Bundy’s cattle.
After publicly declaring a “range war,” hundreds of sympathizers came to Bundy’s defense. A standoff ensued, with BLM agents ultimately backing down.
The Center for Strategic and International affairs describes militias as groups of pro-gun, anti-government individuals that assemble in preparation for a perceived “existential violent threat.” In 2021, there were 488 active anti-government groups, including 92 militias, according to The Intelligence Project.
A federal judge dismissed all charges against Bundy in January 2018 after a bag of shredded documents undermined the government’s case.
Bundy could still be prosecuted for his outstanding debt, but neither the Trump nor Biden administrations have chosen to take action.
This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.
Southern Poverty Law Center War in the West: The Bundy Ranch Standoff and the American Radical Right
Center for Strategic and International Studies Examining Extremism: The Militia Movement
Southern Poverty Law Center Antigovernment Movement
Boise State Public Radio Why won’t Biden touch the Bundys?
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