Be Afraid – US Civilian Agencies own more guns than the entire US Marines

Open the Books found there are now over 200,000 non-military federal officers with arrest and firearm authority, surpassing the 182,100 personnel who are actively serving in the U.S. Marines Corps.

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution was written, in part, to protect American citizens from their own government.  The Founding Fathers had just rid America of the tyrannical dictates of a government unanswerable to the people and they did not want the new government they would create to simply be their new home-grown oppressor.

Unfortunately that glorious ideal didn't last even a single generation from the day it was written.  Worse, here we are two centuries later and that government is today truly both home-grown and tyrannical.

The point that brings this home for me today is a report (h/t CSSA eNews) that explains how a myriad of government agencies in America are armed to the teeth for reasons nobody can adequately explain.

Elizabeth Harrington, writing in The Washington Free Beacon, discussed the findings of a report by Open The Books (OpenTheBooks.com), titled The Militarization of America: Non-Military Federal Agencies Purchases of Guns, Ammo and Military-Style Equipment Fiscal Years 20060-2014 (download PDF).  That's a very long title for a very scary report if you value your life and your liberty.

Elizabeth Harrington point out the hypocrisy of the US Government on guns.

Open the Books, a taxpayer watchdog group, released a study Wednesday that finds domestic government agencies continue to grow their stockpiles of military-style weapons, as Democrats sat on the House floor calling for more restrictions on what guns American citizens can buy.

The report goes even further:

Conservatives argue that it is hypocritical for political leaders to undermine the Second Amendment while simultaneously equipping non-military agencies with hollow-point bullets and military style equipment.

Indeed, but the concern about the militarization of American alphabet soup agencies isn't a "conservative" thing as the report highlights.

Progressives, on the other hand, have raised civil liberties concerns about militarizing local police with tanks and heavy weapons.

Both positions have merit. The Second Amendment to the Constitution, like all of the Bill of Rights, is not a right conferred on the people by the federal government to be given or taken away at will. The right to bear arms is an integral part of the Bill of the Rights. If it can be shackled, limited, restricted, or wiped away altogether, it leaves vulnerable the rest of those enumerated rights that enshrine our civil liberties.

If we mere citizens are not to fear our government, why do they feel the need to arm themselves to the teeth against the very people who pay for their existence?  Oh yeah, I forgot... they need to ensure our compliance... and increasingly the only way they can figure out how to do that is at the barrel of a gun.

Here are some of the facts OpenTheBooks.com uncovered:

  • 67 distinct federal agencies or sub-agencies and 15 departments procured guns, ammunition, and military-style equipment from FY2006-FY2014 for a total cost of $1.48 billion.
  • Annual purchases acquired from 2,873 individual vendors ranged from $126.2 million (FY2006) to $224.7 million per year (FY2012).
  • “Traditional law enforcement” agencies spent $1.144 billion (agencies inside Homeland Security, Department of Justice, and State Department) vs. $335.1 million spent by “general administrative” agencies on guns, ammo, and military-style equipment.

The list of agencies is staggering and rather incomprehensible.  The IRS purchase alone boggle the mind.

  • From FY2006-FY2014, the IRS spent $10.71 million on the purchase of guns and ammunition on behalf of 2,316 law enforcement officers (FY2015), or approximately $450 per officer per year.
  • Purchases include (in no particular order)
    • 00 Buckshot
    • .40 calibre hollowpoint bullets
    • 9mm marking cartridges
    • Aimpoint Micro Scopes
    • ATN Night Storm Gen 4 Night Vision and Night Vision Monoculars
    • Ballistic protective vests, shields, body armour, bullet-proof vests and Blackhawk vests
    • 5.77mm ammunition and firearms
    • Duty holsters
    • Contraband inspection kits
    • Glock 'Safe Action' tactical lights
    • Frangible ammunition
    • Vehicle-Clear Clearing Barrels
    • Glock pistols
    • Model M&P 15T tactical rifles
    • OC Spray
    • Rifle ammunition

This is the Internal Revenue Service, for God's sake!  Why on earth do they need all this?  And Vehicle-Clear clearing barrels?  The list truly boggles the mind, and this is just ONE non-military agency.  There are many more.

The Environmental Protection Agency spent $3.11 million on guns, ammo and military-style equipment.

Outfitting the 200 ‘Special Agents’ of the EPA to protect the environment and investigate enviro-crime is a costly endeavor. Disclosed EPA spending shows that the agents have the latest state-of-the-art policing gear such as “guns and ammunition up to 30MM,” “camouflage and other deceptive equipment,” “night vision,” “unmanned aircraft,” “radar,” “body armor,” “surveillance equipment,” “mobile GPS monitors,” and train and investigate frequently alongside “joint projects with Home Land Security.”

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (who knew that even existed?) spent 4.77 million on guns, ammo and military-style equipment.

An APHIS spokesperson confirmed that there are approximately 1,500 wildlife biologists and specialists authorized to use firearms.These employees work on airport wildlife hazards management, invasive species eradication, endangered species protection, and agricultural protection. Also, APHIS has 64 ‘Mounted Patrol Officers’ that are part of the APHIS’ Veterinary Services program – all are authorized users of firearms. These officers patrol the U.S./ Mexico border on horseback to search for stray, abandoned, and smuggled livestock that could carry harmful animal diseases into the U.S.

Are you starting to see a pattern here?

The #1 administrative agency outside of traditional law enforcement agencies that is responsible for the purchase of guns and ammunition is the “Assistant Secretary for Health” (ASH) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) ($121.76 million).

Other low-lights of this report show

  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) | $261,978
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) | $1.017 MILLION
  • Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) | $1.103 MILLION
  • Department of Energy (DOE) | $15.65 Million

And then the report gets into what actual law-enforcement agencies spent.

Nearly $1.15 billion was spent on guns, ammunition and military-style equipment by 13 federal law enforcement agencies. Twelve of the thirteen agencies are part of the two largest departments: Homeland Security and the Department of Justice.

If this information doesn't scare you then you probably ought to check your pulse and make sure you've still got one.

When everyone from the entire political spectrum know this is wrong, how on earth does it continue unabated?

Clearly nobody is paying attention while they pay through the nose for all this weaponry.

Everything documented in he Open The Books report is verifiable.  They've included links to every source. In their own words:

All data was compiled using publicly available information as a result of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-282, 109th Congress). All numbers are sourced by hyperlinks within this report.

Our motto is ‘Every Dime. Online. In Real Time.’  Remember, it’s your money. Therefore, we attempt to provide non-partisan facts using the resources of the 2.6 billion captured public expenditures at OpenTheBooks.com. We leave systemic solutions to the public policy debate. Across the policy continuum, everyone can stand against waste, fraud, duplication of services, and taxpayer abuse.

In conclusion, we hope that the federally disclosed transactions showcased in this report aid in the education of all stakeholders and thereby fully inform the debate on all sides. There must be a balance between these law enforcement agencies fulfilling their missions and the concerns for an over-militarization of civilian federal agencies.

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