The Bundy standoff is a 20-year legal dispute between the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and cattle rancher Cliven Bundy in southeastern Nevada over unpaid grazing fees that developed into an armed confrontation between protesters and law enforcement.
The ongoing dispute began in 1993, when in protest against changes to grazing rules, Bundy declined to renew his permit for cattle grazing on BLM-administered lands near Bunkerville, Nevada. In 1998, Bundy was prohibited from grazing his cattle on the Bunkerville Allotment by the United States District Court for the District of Nevada in United States v. Bundy. In July 2013, the BLM complaint was supplemented when federal judge Lloyd D. George ordered that Bundy refrain from trespassing on federally administered land in the Gold Butte, Nevada, area in Clark County.
On March 27, 2014, 145,604 acres of federal land in Clark County, Nevada were temporarily closed for the “capture, impound, and removal of trespass cattle”. BLM officials and law enforcement rangers began a trespass-cattle roundup on April 5, and an arrest was made on April 6. On April 12, a group of protesters who had gathered there for the previous week, and some of whom were armed, advanced on what the BLM described as a “cattle gather.” Sheriff Doug Gillespie negotiated with Cliven Bundy and newly confirmed BLM director, Neil Kornze, who elected to release the cattle and de-escalate the situation.
After making remarks discussing whether black people would be better off as slaves than under government subsidies, Bundy was widely condemned in the media, and was repudiated by conservative politicians and talk-show hosts who had previously supported him, many of whom forcefully condemned his remarks as racist.