Armed Bureaucrats

The Knox Update

From the Firearms Coalition

Disarm the Bureaucrats

By Jeff Knox


(Manassas, VA, March 19, 2010) There is nothing unusual about a federal agency buying guns, particularly a federal agency with law enforcement authority, but when that federal agency is the Office of the Inspector General for the US Department of Education, well, that rightfully raised a few eyebrows.  The EDOIG put out a solicitation seeking 27 Remington 870, 12 gauge, pump shotguns with 14 inch barrels and Knoxx (no relation) adjustable, recoil reducing stocks.  The document went on to explain that the 14in Remington 870s are the “only shotguns authorized for ED based on compatibility with ED existing shotgun inventory, certified armor and combat training and protocol, maintenance, and parts.

Let’s take in all of the key information contained in that brief quote:

  1. The 14inch, 12 gauge Model 870 is the Only shotgun authorized for the Department of Education (ED.)
  2. ED has an existing shotgun inventory.
  3. ED has body armor.
  4. ED Special Agents engage in combat training.

It should be understood that the Office of the Inspector General of the US Department of Education is tasked with “detection of waste, fraud, abuse, and other criminal activity involving Federal education funds.”  They are “bean counters” who catch school employees and contractors with their hands in the cookie jar.  A review of their web site reveals a comprehensive collection of stories of the accomplishments and successes of these “Special Agents” and I couldn’t find a single instance of violent resistance to arrest much less justification for deploying deadly force.

Prior to 2002, OIG Special Agents had to either be deputized every year by the US Marshals service or they had to rely on other law enforcement agencies to execute their warrants and make their arrests.  In the wake of the 9-11 attacks, the law dealing with arrest powers for IG offices was amended to give the Attorney General the authority to authorize presidentially appointed IG’s to have full law enforcement powers.  Interestingly, the new law included a requirement that the IG agencies wanting such powers must first demonstrate that they are “significantly hampered” in accomplishing their assigned mission as a result of not having these powers.  They were further required to show that available assistance from other law enforcement agencies is insufficient to meet their needs, and that the agency has internal safeguards and standards to ensure proper exercise of these powers.  Those seem like reasonable requirements, but then in the very next paragraph of the law, 25 of the 30 effected IG offices are exempted from the “prove you need it and can handle it” requirements.

This law only applies to the 30 agencies with presidentially appointed Inspectors General.  Of those 30 agencies only the IG’s for the Department of Agriculture, the CIA, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Defense Department, and the Treasury IG for Tax Administration are left to prove their need before the AG can authorize them to have police powers.  All of the rest, the departments of Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs along with the Agency for International Development, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, General Services Administration, NASA, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the Tennessee Valley Authority, IGs got their police powers without having to prove need or ability.

Remember that we’re not talking about the agencies themselves or any security needs they might have, but the IG’s offices that look for waste, fraud, and abuse in the management of funds.  The EDOIG’s paramilitary buildup could be an unusual case or it could be just the tip of the iceberg.  What kind of SWAT team might they have over at HUD or the Department of Labor?  Can we expect NASA to be soliciting Barrett rifles to go after the guys who sell the $4000.00 hammers?  And what about those “cowboys” over at the Small Business Administration?  What kind of arsenal do you suppose they’ve got stashed in the trunks of their fleet of nondescript (armor plated?) Ford Tauruses?

The nation’s first experiment in giving federal bean counters guns and arrest powers was an abject failure known today as the BATFE.  Repeating that mistake is a very bad idea.  Congress needs to get away from ideas of disarming citizens and focus on disarming bureaucrats instead.

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