Oregon gunmen: We're not leaving

Ammon Bundy, Oregon, Militia
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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.

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“We have been very active in forwarding our plan and assisting the people of Harney County in claiming and using their rights,” the younger Bundy said, according to the Oregonian. At that point, “then we will go home,” he continued.

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.

David Ward, sheriff of Harney County, where the occupation is taking place, has joined calls for the standoff to end and for the gunmen to leave.
 
“It’s time to go home, return to your families,” Ward said told reporters, according to the Oregonian.
 
In an earlier statement, he accused them of wishing to overthrow the county and federal governments.
 
The group on Saturday took control of the refuge headquarters near rural Bends, Ore., to protest the prison sentences of a pair of ranchers convicted of arson on federal land.

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.