CLARK COUNTY, Nev., April 10 (UPI) -- The federal Bureau of Land Management has moved to round up 900 of Cliven Bundy's cattle, causing an outcry over government overreach.
Bundy, 68, has been in a two-decade battle with the BLM over allowing his cattle to graze on public lands that surround his farm without paying grazing fees. The BLM finally decided to round up and seize the cattle, and closed the land until May 12 to give them time to get all the beef cows.
The herd has grown since 1993 and Bundy flatly refuses to pay the grazing fees, saying the family has been there since since 1870, well before the creation of the BLM in 1946. When the BLM came to round up the cows the family made a call for help.
"YOU HAVE BEEN ASKING WHAT YOU CAN DO! AND NOW ITS TIME!" they wrote on the Bundy family blog Sunday. "They have my cattle and now they have one of my boys. Range War begins at Bundy ranch at 9:30 a.m."
Bundy said they brought tanks and assault rifles.
"They’re carrying the same things a soldier would," he said. "Automatic weapons, sniper rifles, top communication, top surveillance equipment, lots of vehicles. It’s heavy soldier type equipment."
The son mentioned in the post was arrested after he took pictures of officials in a closed area. He had marks on his face he claimed were from the arrest.
"One put his knee on his head, the other put his boot on his head and pushed him into the gravel," Carol Bundy told the Washington Free Beacon. "He’s got quite a bruised head. Just bruised him up pretty good."
Officials designated First Amendment areas around the public lands for the hundreds of people who arrived to protest the roundup, calling it government overreach.
"Whenever you designate an area, you’re restricting it everywhere else," said another of Bundy's sons Ryan Bundy. "You didn’t give people a First Amendment right, you took it away in every other location."
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) said the idea of protest zones and road closures "tramples upon Nevadans’ fundamental rights under the U.S. Constitution," and called the roundup an "atmosphere of intimidation."
The BLM claims Bundy owes $1 million in grazing fees, but Bundy says it's more like $300,000.
[NY Daily News] [Washington Free Beacon] [Bundy Ranch Blog]