Sen. Mike Lee calls on Oregon protesters to stand down

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SALT LAKE CITY -- U.S. Senator Mike Lee says he sees nothing in his LDS faith that would justify an armed standoff with law enforcement.

“I’m not aware of any tenet of my religious faith as a Latter-day Saint nor am I aware of any principle of sound public policy that would tell me that it is a good idea,” said Lee.

Lee is a frequent critic of the same federal laws and policies that outraged the protesters in Oregon who call themselves the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom. Among those policies, restrictions on the ranchers using federal lands and sentencing guidelines that forced a five-year prison sentence for 73-year-old rancher Dwight Hammond, convicted of committing arson on public land.

Lee and Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois are sponsoring legislation to reform federal minimum mandatory sentencing guidelines.

But if Lee is a proponent of policies favored by the protesters and their leader, Ammon Bundy, Lee was emphatic in his opposition to their methods.

“I do think they should stand down,” Lee said.