Politicians rush to condemn gun ownership by private citizens. But what about federal bureaucrats? In Part II of his Free Market Central Interview, Open The Books CEO Adam Andrzejewski discusses how his watchdog organization has uncovered a virtual arms race taking place among non-military agencies within the federal government. From the IRS to even the Small Business Administration, agencies are arming themselves at an alarming rate. They're buying deadly, military-style equipment, from glock pistols to lethal hollow-point bullets outlawed by the Geneva Convention. Should citizens be concerned? Andrzejewski certainly is.
Open The Books, your non-profit watch-dog organization, has achieved spectacular success tracking government spending. Your report, "The Militarization of America" uncovered a chilling trend — the increasing purchases of military-style weaponry by non-military agencies.
Everyone knew that the federal agencies were arming up. However, we were the first to analyze the sheer growth. The federal government has grown significantly in size, scope and power. Our report quantified the agencies outside of the Department of Defense and their $1.5 billion procurement of guns, ammunition and military-style equipment.
You discovered something that many Americans will find hard to fathom: the number of armed federal employees is greater than the number of U.S. Marines.
That’s right. As a part of our report, we detailed more than 200,000 federal employees with arrest and firearm authority. This number exceeded the number of U.S. Marines at 182,000. This story broke on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal in a co-authored piece with our Honorary Chairman Dr. Tom Coburn - the retired U.S. Senator from Oklahoma. The piece was titled, 'Why Does the IRS Need Guns?'
Open The Books has reported that not only the IRS, but many other agencies, like the Small Business Administration, also buy guns. Why on earth do they need them?
They don't need them. Many of these rank-and-file federal agencies received arrest and firearm authority after 9/11 in 2001. Legislation to rescind their powers should be fast tracked.
Gun control advocates assail ownership of assault weapons. Yet those very guns are carried by IRS agents.
An IRS Special Agent gets to carry an AR15 in certain circumstances. Another agency, Health & Human Services, trains special agents on heavy military-style weapon platforms by the same vendors that train our Special Forces warriors. Things are a bit out of control.
"Out of control" seems like an understatement. How do these bureaucracies explain their need for guns?
We reached out to spokesmen at the IRS, EPA, VA, HHS and the Animal Health Inspection Service. All of the agencies made a public purpose argument as to why they need arrest and firearm authority. They argue that it's a dangerous world.