While there are a number of arguments that are used by gun control advocates, one of the most common is that individuals do not need high-powered firearms because they will not stand a chance in a war against the federal government. However, four years ago, a group of armed men and women did come together to form a militia, as referenced in the Second Amendment, and they successfully stood up to the government agencies that were infringing upon their rights.
On April 5, 2014, an ongoing land dispute between cattle rancher Cliven Bundy and the United States Bureau of Land Management hit its peak when the agency and federal law enforcement began seizing cattle owned by Bundy that they claimed were trespassing on "federally-owned" land.
The dispute first began in 1993 when Bundy refused to pay for a cattle grazing permit to use the land near his ranch in Clark County, Nevada, after the BLM claimed that he must reduce the side of his herd to 150 and that the size of land where his cattle were allowed to graze would be severely restricted. Bundy argued that the federal government does not have the authority to own large amounts of land, which launched a legal battle that continued for the next two decades.
As the Tenth Amendment Center reported, the federal government claims to own 81 percent of the land in the state of Nevada and "On the land they manage, the feds are threatening to evict tenants who refuse to pay outrageous fees." As a result, Bundy was "the last of a dying breed, the only holdout who hasn't been driven off land in Clark County in recent years, land his family has utilized and improved for nearly a century."
In addition to seizing cattle, the government also began conducting heavy surveillance around the Bundy Ranch. On April 8, Cliven Bundy and his wife, Carol, told the Washington Free Beacon that more than 200 agents from the BLM and FBI were stationed around the property, armed with "automatic weapons, sniper rifles, top communication, top surveillance equipment, lots of vehicles," as helicopters circled overhead and agents blocked the nearby roads.
"The battle's been going on for 20 years," Cliven Bundy said. "What's happened the last two weeks, the United States government, the bureaus are getting this army together and they're going to get their job done and they're going to prove two things. They're going to prove they can do it, and they're gonna prove that they have unlimited power and that they control the policing power over this public land. That's what they're trying to prove."
The Bundys' son, Dave, was arrested by federal agents for filming them near his father's land and cited with misdemeanor counts of refusing to disperse and resisting arrest on April 6.
Lead investigator Larry Wooten revealed in December 2017 that officers involved in the arrest "bragged about roughing up Dave Bundy, grinding his face into the ground and Dave Bundy having little bits of gravel stuck in his face." A memo from Wooten referenced a pattern of "far-reaching misconduct, recklessness and unrestrained antipathy toward the family."