Government dissent is nothing new, however, on January 2, 2016, a group of individuals brought it to a whole new level. The individuals were part of the militia movement in the United States. The imprisonment of 2 Oregon ranchers prompted the occupation. Dwight and Steven Hammond were convicted of Arson on federal land and were sentenced to serve 5 years.
Ammon Bundy, son of Cliven Bundy, a rancher infamously known for associations with militia groups and stand-offs with the government including one in Nevada involving public lands.
Ammon Bundy, and his brother Ryan Bundy stated that they were part of the Citizens For Constitutional Freedom movement and they intended to stay at the wildlife refuge until the federal government gave up the land. They also stated that they would engage in armed conflict with law enforcement if they attempted to remove the protesters by force. The Bundy’s claimed they had over 150 militants at the refuge, including women and children. All of the militants stood armed and were awaiting government intervention in defensive positions. The occupation lasted for a month and, in the end, began to see infighting with other militias and dwindling supplies. The occupation soon ended on January 26, 2016, with one occupier being shot and killed, while Ryan Bundy was wounded in an armed stand-off. Bundy and three other remaining militants were arrested after the armed stand-off and charged with multiple felony counts.
By February 10, the remaining hold out militia members at the refuge had turned themselves in to federal authorities. Ammond Bundy, and 27 others have been federally indicted on a number of charges surrounding the occupation. The stand-off has costed tax payers $10,000 per day and the occupiers caused thousands of dollars in damage to the facility and land.
Ammon Bundy’s attorney’s are currently seeking for his case to be dismissed. They stated in their motion that the federal government did not own the refuge and had no right to hire anyone to work on the land and, therefore, could not charge their client with obstructing the work of the employees at the refuge. Bundy’s attorney’s are still stating that all of the occupiers are patriots and that they will continue to exercise their First Amendment rights.