By Timothy Cama - 01/05/16 04:24 PM EST
The leader of the armed group occupying a wildlife refuge in Oregon says they will not leave until control of the land is turned over to the local community.
In a brief news conference Tuesday, Ammon Bundy, the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, says the land of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge must go into the hands of local loggers, farmers, ranchers and others.
Bundy said that his group of dozens of armed men is working to secure the federal property until locals “can stand strong enough to defend them themselves.”
But if the local community says it does not want them there, Bundy said he’d leave.
The gunmen, who are overwhelmingly not locals, have turned the situation and their national attention into an opportunity to rail against federal ownership and management of land in the West.
Leading GOP candidates for president have condemned the occupation and asked the group to end its occupation.