UPDATE

Politicians converge on Nevada land in support of rancher

Posted: Updated:
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Members of congress and Arizona lawmakers traveled to Bunkerville, NV, this weekend in support of Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher involved in a heated feud with the federal government over cattle on public land.

State Rep. Kelly Townsend, R- Mesa, is driving to Bundy's Ranch overnight to join other Republicans from around the country.

"I want to go up and defend my fellow Americans. That's just my knee-jerk reaction," Townsend said. "Let me go up there and be with them and see for myself what's happening."

Bundy was met by Bureau of Land Management agents earlier this week who intended to seize nearly 1,000 of Bundy's cattle grazing on federal lands, as ordered by a federal court.

In the process of serving the court order, protesters claim they were engaged by federal agents in a hostile manner.

When agents were met by armed militia on Friday, the federal government called off its pursuit.

"What happens in Nevada today could happen in Arizona tomorrow," Townsend said.

Although the feds have retreated from the Bundy Ranch, Townsend fears the conflict is far from over and plans to take proactive steps to prevent any further escalation that could spread to Arizona.

"Ranchers in the area, all but one is left because the rest have been put out of business," Townsend said. "[Bundy] is the last man standing."

State lawmakers are already writing legislation that would allow Arizona to use federal lands. If this legislation is passed, however, it would likely be challenged in federal court.

The Arizona State Militia "Praetorian Guard" said their organization was invited to the camp at the Bundy home and were asked to provide personal security directly to the family, as well as being invited into the family home for dinner. The militia representative said their men left when the Brigade found out they were unarmed and ordered them off the site.

The group released this statement Thursday:

"ASM Brigade has been made aware that our forward RECON team arrived in Nevada unarmed. Our team leaving Arizona unarmed was in direct defiance of Brigade orders requiring full battle rattle. I personally talked with leaders of the team and directed full load out be taken. Prior to departure the team received instructions not approved by ANY Brigade member to head north unarmed due to the reported threat of confiscation. This last minute unapproved change was thought to be an order by the team. Brigade was not made aware of this until the team had already been on the ground for quite a few hours. We are in constant communication as of right now with our RECON team who is home safely and we are investigating this issue to find out all of the details and facts of the situation. This situation is not being taken lightly and appropriate changes are being made that only membership need be aware of. While as always we appreciate the support of the public, we are accountable to our members. Rest assured, the events that took place were not condoned or authorized in any manner. We thank you all for your concern."

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