Rancher Ammon Bundy said on Monday that his group of militants would continue its armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge until they were able to “unwind” the government’s ownership of public lands.
Bundy told reporters at a press conference that the group had made a statement by taking over the federal property, but he said that “statements aren’t good enough.”
“We intend to go to work in assisting the people of Harney County in claiming their rights, using their rights as free people,” he announced. “We have a lot of work to be able to unwind the unconstitutional land transactions that have taken place here. We also have a lot of work to unwind the claims that the federal government has upon this land.”
“We have teams that are going to be doing that,” he added. “And we have a defense mechanism that allows us to do this while we are here.”
Bundy said that his group would be willing to leave as soon as the federal government decided to “remove its unconstitutional presence here in the county.”
According to the rancher, all federal wildlife refuges were in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
“Wildlife refuges do not fall within those enumerated authorized lands,” Bundy insisted.
Bundy noted that his group had been in “indirect” contact with law enforcement officials.
“They have reached out to individuals that we are closely affiliated with and have give [sic] messages to us,” he explained. “They intend not to come up on us.”
When pressed about what the militant group would do if law enforcement approached, Bundy refused to answer.
“We do not believe they will do that,” he said.
Watch video of the press conference below, broadcast Jan. 4, 2016.