Ballots Not Bullets Statement on Arrest of Cliven Bundy and Remaining Malheur Occupiers

Washington, DC—The Ballots Not Bullets Coalition, a group of organizations from across the country concerned by the increasing use of violence—and threats of violence—to affect public policy in the United States, applauds the arrest of insurrectionist rancher Cliven Bundy and the remaining four occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife refuge nears Burns, Oregon. The refuge is now under federal control again, and without further loss of life.

Bundy was arrested late Wednesday when he flew into Portland International Airport and booked into Multnomah County jail. He faces weapons charges and a charge of conspiracy to interfere with a federal officer stemming from a 2014 confrontation over unauthorized grazing near his ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada. Bundy had been attempting to travel to Burns to support the remaining four occupiers at Malheur, who were holed up in a parking lot encampment at the site.

After a tense standoff that was broadcast in a livestream on YouTube, the occupiers—David Fry, Sean and Sandy Anderson, and Jeff Banta—were arrested today without incident after surrendering to FBI agents.

“We’re glad to finally see Cliven Bundy arrested and hopefully now brought to justice,” said Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Not only does he owe the American taxpayers more than $1 million in unpaid grazing fees but he’s been a driving force behind the violent, racist militia movement that tried to take over Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and is now trying to export this same brand of armed theft of public lands elsewhere in the American West.”

“Violence is not how we resolve grievances in our democracy,” said Southern Poverty Law Center senior fellow Mark Potok. “Cliven Bundy thoughts his guns and threats made him bigger than our courts and the rule of law. He was wrong. The FBI deserves a tremendous amount of credit for accomplishing this recent round of arrests peacefully, without bloodshed.”

“A relatively small group of delusional ‘cowboys’ are continuing a century-long pattern of threats and abuse of federal employees who attempt to do their jobs,” said Rose Chilcoat, associate director of Great Old Broads for Wilderness. “It is time to put these outlaws to pasture and support our public lands managers in their efforts to follow laws and regulations that will ensure the West remains wild.”


The Ballots Not Bullets Coalition is a group of organizations that are concerned by the increasing use of violence—and threats of violence—to affect public policy in the United States. The coalition believes that there is no legitimate role for political violence under our Constitution.

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