Remember the White House announcement of a post-Ferguson investigation into police militarization? It was so important TTAG posted it as a breaking story. I guess it done broke. We’re not hearing a peep from the Prez’ peeps on the subject these days. Equally, no one in the halls of power seems to have paid much attention to Sgt. Patrick Hayes’ point that the vast majority of the militarization is happening on the federal, not local, level. Inspired by the recent(ish) revelation of the USDA’s .40-cal sub-gun purchase, all 85 of them, CNN reporter Matt Knight took a look at the feds’ arsenal . . .
At 73 federal agencies and departments, independent sub-agencies called the Offices of the Inspector General, or OIGs, conduct oversight, perform audits and enforce laws.
It is that last function that led the USDA to order the .40-caliber “submachine guns” in May. A spokesman for USDA OIG told CNN that these “semi-automatic” weapons were acquired on September 9, 2014 . . .
“Regarding the need for weapons’ procurements, OIG’s Investigations division conducts hundreds of criminal investigations each year, some of which involve OIG agents, USDA employees, and/or members of the public facing potentially life threatening situations,” USDA Deputy Counsel Paul Feeney said.
The Department of Education’s OIG put out a similar purchase order in 2010 for 27 shotguns.
Yeah, we knew about those Department of Education (DOE) shotguns, and bitched about them before (even as we told our kids that the Agency’s truancy section received the scatterguns).
But I’m still not clear what life-threatening situations United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) agents face – that couldn’t be faced with some local law enforcement organization (LEO) or federal law enforcement (FLE) backup. Like their pals at the equally armed Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Social Security Administration (SAA) . . .
In 2011, the FDA conducted armed raids of an Amish farm searching for raw-milk related infractions . . .
In justifying the need for Social Security’s audit arm to carry guns, SSA’s Inspector General Patrick O’Carroll cited a standoff with a murder suspect. But O’Carroll acknowledged Kentucky State Police accompanied Social Security’s agents in that pursuit . . .
Pete Kennedy, president of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, whose members have been raided by the FDA, said agents have even pointed their guns at unarmed food producers suspected of permit violations.
“These people don’t need their own enforcement teams.”
“They have the U.S. Marshals at their disposal, if there really is a problem,” Kennedy told CNN.
Yes, there really is a problem: the United States federal government is too damn big. Giving so many federal agencies armed agents is not a good idea. [Click here for TTAG’s 2010 post featuring a full list of armed federal agencies.] Equipping them with firearms unavailable to average American citizens is also patently unfair.
Put that in your Presidential blue ribbon panel and smoke it.