Meet Ammon and Ryan Bundy, the activists leading the Ore. standoff

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Oregon 'Militia' Occupation Leader: 'We Are Not Threatening Anybody'

Like father, like sons.

Ammon and Ryan Bundy, leaders of the gun-toting protesters who have occupied a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon and call themselves the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, learned defiance against the U.S. government from their dad, Cliven.

EARLIER: Armed militia takes over federal headquarters

Like their father, a Nevada rancher who became infamous in 2014 when he staged an armed standoff with the federal Bureau of Land Management, the Bundy brothers believe Washington is bent on gobbling up their land and that of other ranchers.

"The only violence that, if it comes our way, will be because government is wanting their building back,'' Ammon Bundy told TODAY on Monday. "We're putting nobody in harm's way. We are not threatening anybody. We're 30 miles out of the closest town."

Earlier, he claimed he and his followers were prepared to occupy the remote Malheur National Wildlife Refuge "for as long as needs be."

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Ranching dispute in Oregon; protesters take over National Wildlife Refuge
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Meet Ammon and Ryan Bundy, the activists leading the Ore. standoff
KANAB, UT - FEBRUARY 5: A man holds a flag as two armed private security guards look on outside a Mormon church for the funeral of rancher Robert 'LaVoy' Finicum on February 5, 2016 in Kanab, Utah. Finicum who was part of the Burns, Oregon standoff with federal officials was shot and killed by FBI agents when they tried to detain him at a traffic stop on February 27, 2016. ( Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
Law enforcement personnel monitor an intersection of closed Highway 395 in Burns, Oregon on January 26, 2016, during a standoff pitting an anti-government militia against the US authorities. One person died in an armed clash with police as they arrested the leaders of a group laying siege to an American wildlife refuge, the FBI said January 26. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
Duane Ehmer rides his horse Hellboy at the occupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on the sixth day of the occupation of the federal building in Burns, Oregon on January 7, 2016. The leader of a small group of armed activists who have occupied a remote wildlife refuge in Oregon hinted on Wednesday that the standoff may be nearing its end. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
Duane Ehmer rides his horse Hellboy at the occupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on the sixth day of the occupation of the federal building in Burns, Oregon on January 7, 2016. The leader of a small group of armed activists who have occupied a remote wildlife refuge in Oregon hinted on Wednesday that the standoff may be nearing its end. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
BURNS, OR - JANUARY 07: A member of an anti-government militia stands next to a campfire outside of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on January 7, 2016 near Burns, Oregon. An armed anti-government militia group continues to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters as they protest the jailing of two ranchers for arson. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
BURNS, OR - JANUARY 07: A man wearing a patriotic jacket rides his horse on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on January 7, 2016 near Burns, Oregon. An armed anti-government militia group continues to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters as they protest the jailing of two ranchers for arson. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Members of an armed anti-government militia, monitor the entrance to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters near Burns, Oregon January 5, 2016. The occupation of a wildlife refuge by armed protesters in Oregon reflects a decades-old dispute over land rights in the United States, where local communities have increasingly sought to take back federal land. While the standoff in rural Oregon was prompted by the jailing of two ranchers convicted of arson, experts say the issue at the core of the dispute runs much deeper and concerns grazing or timber rights as well as permits to work mines on government land in Western states. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
BURNS, OR - JANUARY 05: Members of an anti-government militia stand outside of a building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on January 5, 2016 near Burns, Oregon. An armed anti-government militia group continues to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters as they protest the jailing of two ranchers for arson. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Ammon Bundy(2nd-L), leader of an armed anti-government militia, returns to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters near Burns, Oregon January 5, 2016 following a news conference. The occupation of a wildlife refuge by armed protesters in Oregon reflects a decades-old dispute over land rights in the United States, where local communities have increasingly sought to take back federal land. While the standoff in rural Oregon was prompted by the jailing of two ranchers convicted of arson, experts say the issue at the core of the dispute runs much deeper and concerns grazing or timber rights as well as permits to work mines on government land in Western states. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
BURNS, OR - JANUARY 05: Ammon Bundy, the leader of an anti-government militia, speaks to members of the media in front of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on January 5, 2016 near Burns, Oregon. An armed anti-government militia group continues to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters as they protest the jailing of two ranchers for arson. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
BURNS, OR - JANUARY 05: A view of the visitor center at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on January 5, 2016 near Burns, Oregon. An armed anti-government militia group continues to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters as they protest the jailing of two ranchers for arson. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
BURNS, OR - JANUARY 05: A member of an anti-government militia stands outside of a building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on January 5, 2016 near Burns, Oregon. An armed anti-government militia group continues to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters as they protest the jailing of two ranchers for arson. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Ammon Bundy, the leader of armed protesters who have taken over a federal building in rural Oregon, told TODAY Monday that the group has no intention of committing violence unless the government intervenes.

Photo courtesy: NBC News

Members of a small militia at the entrance to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge Headquarters property some 30 miles from Burns, Oregon, January 3, 2016. The armed anti-government group have taken over a building at the federal wildlife refuge, accusing officials of unfairly punishing ranchers who refused to sell their land. The standoff has prompted some schools to call off classes for the entire week. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
Deserted N. Broadway Avenue in Burns, Oregon is seen January 3, 2016, where 30 miles away a militia group has occupied the Malheur Wildlife Headquarters complex. Anti-government militiamen from several US states continued to occupy the federal wildlife facility in Oregon, saying their protest against the jailing of two ranchers could last years, media reported. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
A vehicle occupied by members of a small militia group enter the Malheur Wildlife Refuge Headquarters property some 30 miles from Burns, Oregon, January 3, 2016. The armed anti-government group have taken over a building at the federal wildlife refuge, accusing officials of unfairly punishing ranchers who refused to sell their land. The standoff has prompted some schools to call off classes for the entire week. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
Media gather outside the entrance of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge Headquarters near Burns, Oregon, January 3, 2016, where an armed anti-government group have taken over a building at the federal wildlife refuge, accusing officials of unfairly punishing ranchers who refused to sell their land. The standoff has prompted some schools to call off classes for the entire week. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
Patric Batie, 14, walks along a road in Burns, Oregon, January 3, 2016, some 30 miles from the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters where a group of armed anti-government protesters have taken over a building at the federal wildlife refuge, accusing officials of unfairly punishing ranchers who refused to sell their land. The standoff has prompted some school to call off classes for the entire week. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
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"Once they can use these lands as free men, then we will have accomplished what we came to accomplish," he said.

The "they" in this case are Dwight Hammond and his son, Steven, who are facing jail for setting arson fires that spread to government lands -- and who say they didn't ask for the Bundy clan's help.

Ammon Bundy, 40, insisted they were acting with the blessing of other angry ranchers in Burns, Oregon, who believe the Hammonds are being railroaded by the feds.

"We've been able to see that these ranchers have been in this situation that's really a form of tyranny," he said.

Ryan Bundy, 43, said in an interview with NBC News on Sunday that the Hammond family's case was "an example of the terrorism that the federal government is placing upon the people."

And in statement posted Saturday on his website, 69-year-old Cliven Bundy said the Hammonds were being punished unfairly.

"The United States Justice Department has NO jurisdiction or authority within the State of Oregon, County of Harney over this type of ranch management," he said. "These lands are not under U.S. treaties or commerce, they are not article 4 territories, and Congress does not have unlimited power."

A Mormon and a father of 14, Cliven Bundy galloped to national fame two years ago when he -- with the help of several dozen armed supporters -- chased off some federal rangers. The rangers had been acting on a court order when they tried to confiscate 500 of Bundy's cattle for illegally grazing his herd on public land since 1993.

While Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, a Democrat, called the Bundy family patriarch a "domestic terrorist," the state's Republican senator Dean Heller called him a "patriot." Cliven Bundy became a right-wing darling thanks, in part, to frequent coverage of the land drama by FOX News.

Watch more coverage:

'Militia' Takeover of Federal Building in Oregon Reaches Third Day

Meanwhile, Cliven Bundy's sons rallied behind their dad.

"We ran them out of here," Ammon Bundy boasted, referring to the feds. "We were serious. We weren't playing around."

But the Republicans who embraced Cliven Bundy -- like GOP presidential candidates Rand Paul and Ted Cruz -- backed away after he was quoted in a New York Times article making racist remarks about African-Americans.

Neither Bundy son lives on the ranch in Bunkerville, some 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, which has been in the family since the 1870s.

Ammon Bundy lives in a Phoenix, Arizona, suburb and runs a valet car fleet service, according to public records. Like his dad, he is a registered Republican and has a hunting license. He has also contributed to Infowars web site run by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

In a November 2014 piece for the website, Ammon Bundy described being stopped by a TSA agent at a Phoenix airport and speculated that he was being hassled because Reid branded him "a terrorist against the people of this country, the people I love and would so willingly to give my life for."

Ryan Bundy is a former Republican who is currently not affiliated with any political party, according to records. He lives in Cedar City, Utah, and owns a construction company. He has reportedly took part in protests against the BLM's decision to bar all-terrain vehicles from Utah's environmentally sensitive Recapture Canyon.

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