Oklahoma Militia gets involved in Nevada cattle battle
OKLAHOMA CITY — A cattle battle in Nevada has bled over to Oklahoma.The federal government says Cliven Bundy is allowing his cattle to graze illegally.Bundy says the land belongs to the state.Now the Oklahoma Militia is getting involved.At the heart of this debate is the issue of federal land ownership versus state's rights.Members of Oklahoma Militia say the government has no right to come in and take Bundy's land and cattle and if the recent standoff is any indication, they have no problems arming themselves in an effort to fight back.Scott Shaw is the co-founder of the Oklahoma Volunteer Militia."I think every American has the right to defend their property," Shaw said. He says some militia members in our state felt so passionate about defending Bundy they traveled about 1200 miles to Nevada to guard his farm and cattle ranch with other militias from all over the country."Let's say the government comes to your neighbor's house and kicks their door in and is taking their stuff, if you don't stand up and help him what's to stop him from coming to your house next," Shaw said. The militia members even exercised their second amendment rights recently against the federal government during a stand off after authorities rounded up Bundy's cattle. The Bureau of Land Management later backed off citing safety concerns and released the cattle and land."It could have turned very violent but you have to turn around say who provoked this who showed up with guns in the first place it was the Bureau of Land Management," Shaw said. The federal government contends Bundy still owes around one-million dollars for letting his cattle trespass on their land and that he quit paying grazing fees back in 1993."Well the next steps should be for the Bureau of Land Management to handle it in the court of law," Shaw said. Retired Lt. Colonel Steve Russell who's running for Congress and served in the Army during the capture of Saddam Hussein says he agrees."These lands that are in question were looked at in federal court, they determined that there was no state claim with Mr. Bundy, if there is then take it the court to appeal,"Russell said. But he's doesn't agree with the militia's approach in the meantime."Whether we agree with Mr. Bundy or not and I think there are points to be made on both sides, we don't need to resolve it with bloodshed," Russell said.