Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and two of his sons – key figures in a growing movement against the federal government’s control of vast public land in the West – will face charges in federal court in a highly-anticipated trial over a 2014 armed standoff with federal officers.
Three years after the Bundys and hundreds of their supporters faced off with federal agents in Bunkerville, Nevada, propelling the family into the national spotlight, they now face charges of conspiracy to commit offenses against the US, impeding or injuring a federal officer, threatening federal officials, and multiple weapons charges.
When the Bundys rallied hundreds of armed civilians to their side during the 2014 Nevada standoff, federal agents were forced to retreat, emboldening the Bundy sons and a network of militias.
2014 standoff in Bunkerville
In Aug. 2013, a court ordered Bundy to remove his cattle from public lands and in October agents began to seize his cattle that had trespassed on federal land.
Militia groups like the Three Percenters and Oathkeepers rallied supporters on social media to head to Bunkerville to protect the Bundys and their ranch, depicting the confrontation as an armed stance against an abusive federal government. Ammon Bundy proclaimed, “We won the battle!”
The BLM’s retreat, and the lack of arrests and prosecutions from the Nevada standoff emboldened Bundy and his supporters, not only with regard to their ideology but on their tactics against federal authorities.