A white supremacist who once advocated taking over Zion National Park as a white homeland has been sentenced to six months in jail for carrying a loaded gun in a vehicle.
The jail sentence was one provision of probation imposed Wednesday by 5th District Judge James Shumate, who could have sent John W. "Johnny" Bangerter to prison for up to five years.Shumate also ordered Bangerter to avoid contact with criminal gangs or groups that promote violence. Bangerter was fined $9,250 and told he must submit to random searches by the Division of Adult Probation and Parole, not own or possess firearms and undergo therapy for substance abuse.
Bangerter is the self-proclaimed leader of a ragtag white supremacist movement in southern Utah calling itself the Army of Israel. In 1993, he declared nearby Zion National Park as an ancestral Aryan homeland and threatened to take it over.
In 1995, Bangerter drew the attention of state and federal agents when he threatened the life of Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. He later apologized.
Law enforcement officials have reported several tense run-ins with Bangerter, a native of Las Vegas. It took them several weeks to arrest him on the gun possession warrant, as they feared any confrontation might lead to a shootout.