Bunting was commissioned into the Armagh and Down Army Cadet Force in May 1946 and resigned in March 1950 when he transferred to the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers as a lieutenant. He was promoted to captain in 1952 and retired with the honorary rank of major in 1960.
Bunting's first involvement with politics was as election agent to Republican Labour Party MP Gerry Fitt, although he broke from Fitt and became a close associate of Ian Paisley. In this role Bunting would come to play a leading role in Paisley's campaigns against the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association, as well as running unsuccessfully for the Protestant Unionist Party in the Northern Ireland general election of 1969 in Belfast Victoria.
Bunting had his own strong-arm group which he dubbed the Loyal Citizens of Ulster, although in truth the LCU, which existed between 1968 and 1969, was little more than another name for the East Belfast arm of the Ulster Protestant Volunteers. At the head of this group, Bunting lead the protests against the 1969 Belfast to Derry civil rights march organised by People's Democracy, which resulted in a particularly bloody confrontation at Burntollet. In a fiery court case in 1969 Bunting was sentenced to three months imprisonment along with Paisley for his role in the disturbances.
Bunting's son Ronnie Bunting would go on to serve as a member of the Official Irish Republican Army and the Irish National Liberation Army before he was murdered by the Ulster Defence Association in 1980. Following his son's death Major Bunting took no further role in politics, although his involvement had faded after his imprisonment. He later told an inquest that he felt his son had been killed because of his belief in social justice.
- W.D. Flackes & S. Elliott, Northern Ireland: A Political Directory 1968-1993, Belfast: Blackstaff Press, 1994, p. 108
- Ronnie Bunting bio
- Peter Barberis, John McHugh & Mike Tyldesley, Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations, p. 233
- 'Burntollet' by Bowes Egan and Vincent McCormack
- On This Day The Times, 28 January 1969
- Martin Dillon, The Dirty War, p. 270