BURNS, OR -- Militia members who have taken control of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge south of Burns want the land returned to the State of Oregon. The leader of the group, Ammon Bundy, says the Government can't talk its way out of this protest. "I wouldn’t say words would do it; I would say action would. And, that would be for the federal government to remove its unconstitutional presence here in the county."
The militia is also calling for justice for two ranchers convicted of burning federal land. Dwight and Steve Hammond already served their sentences for the charges, but a judge ruled the terms were too short under federal laws, and ordered them back to prison.
The militia is says this is unconstitutional.
Bundy told reporters at a Monday afternoon press conference, this about the constitutional rights of citizens against the federal government. "Our purpose, as we’ve shown, is to restore and defend the constitution; that each person in this country can be protected by it." Ammon Bundy is the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy
, who has had his own run-ins with the federal government. "Because we’ve allowed our federal government to step outside the bounds of our constitution, they’ve come down upon the people and are prosecuting them directly. They’re coming down into the states and taking over the land and the resources, putting people into duress and into poverty and putting entire counties and entire states into undue obedience."
Bundy claims the federal government doesn't have the constitutional right to take the land for a wildlife refuge. "They can only use it for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards and other needful buildings; and wildlife refuges do not fall within those enumerated, authorized lands." He says the group has a plan to remove federal control over the refuge, but he hasn't released any specifics.