Federal agencies other than the Department of Defense spent nearly $1.5 billion on guns, ammunition and military-style equipment over the past nine years, a new report found.
Researchers from OpenTheBooks.com tracked spending between Fiscal Years 2006 and 2014 at 67 different agencies in 15 departments outside the Pentagon in a report entitled "The Militarization of America."
The organization, which refers to itself as a nonpartisan watchdog organization, unveiled the 55-page report earlier this month.
"As the Obama administration and its allies are pushing hard for an assault weapons ban on private citizens, taxpayers are asking why IRS agents need AR-15s. After grabbing legal power, federal bureaucrats are amassing firepower. It’s time to scale back the federal arsenal," OpenTheBooks founder and CEO Adam Andrzejewski wrote in a Forbes magazine editorial
about the report.
Researchers found that the more than 200,000 federal officers with arrest and firearm responsibilities now outnumber the 188,000 members of the U.S. Marine Corps. Administrative agencies spending on guns, ammo and military gear included the Food and Drug Administration, the Small Business Administration, the Smithsonian Institution, the Social Security Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The Environmental Protection Agency procured $3.1 million worth of such equipment over the nine fiscal years. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, spent $4.7 million on supplies such as night-vision goggles and liquid explosives.
Andrzejewski wrote in the Forbes column
that the Internal Revenue Service’s $11 million "gun locker" for the tax agency's 2,316 special agents features pump-action and semi-automatic shotguns with buckshot and slugs and military-style H&K 416 rifles.
The watchdog organization, a project of a larger group called American Transparency, noted that a 2006 disclosure law cosponsored by then-Sen. Barack Obama and 16 other Democrats had allowed it to compile the data from figures released by the Office of Management and Budget.
Dr. Tom Coburn, a Republican and former senator from Oklahoma, introduced that bill and later joined OpenTheBooks as its honorary chairman, according to the group’s website. In a recent appearance on CNBC’s "Squawk Box"
program, Coburn described finding a Department of Homeland Security "black van" that was "loaded to the hilt" in his hometown.
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"I asked the guy, this is while I was a sitting U.S. senator, ‘What are you doing? What’s your job?’" Coburn said. "He said, ‘It’s to protect you.’ I said, ‘No, that’s what my local police are for. What’s your job?’ He could not tell me what his job was, but I guarantee you he had a $300,000 outfitted SUV and a couple of guns on his hips driving around my hometown. And for what purpose?"