DENVER (AP) — Republicans are widely condemning an attempt by armed ranchers in Oregon to force the federal government to return western lands to local communities. But the GOP has grown more supportive of the ranchers' goal, if not their tactics.

Republican presidential candidates are increasingly arguing that the federal government owns too much of the West's land. The Republican National Committee passed a resolution calling for the return of federal western land to states.

And some states are studying whether they want to try to take back the real estate.

Even some western critics of the federal government say that a massive federal land take-back will never happen. It's too controversial politically given many westerners' love of public lands.

But all sides agree the issue will keep getting more attention.

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