A new report on the militarization of America revealed there are fewer U.S. Marines than there are bureaucrats with guns and the authority to arrest citizens.
The report found that 67 non-military federal agencies spent $1.48 billion on military gear from 2006 to 2014. And spending jumped dramatically during the same time period. In fiscal year 2006, these agencies spent just $55 million, but in fiscal year 2011, that figure increased by 104 percent to $112 million.
Several agencies in particular were ranked high on the list — the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Food and Drug Administration. In total, the report found there are 200,000 federal, non-military personnel with the authority to arrest and carry firearms. That number exceeds the amount of active-duty Marines, which currently stands at 182,100.
When broken down by agency, the figures show the IRS spent almost $11 million on military equipment for 2,316 agents. These agents deploy heavy military gear in tax raids. Some of the weapons include Smith and Wesson M&P15s and Remington shotguns.
The EPA spent $3.1 million on weapons and from fiscal year 2005 up until now, the agency has spent $715 million for its Criminal Enforcement Division.
The Department of Health and Human Services also has agents with military grade weapons, along with other unexpected agencies like the United States Mint and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Open the Books thinks the findings will be interesting to both the conservatives and progressives.
“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,” the report notes. “One could argue the federal government itself has become a gun show that never adjourns with dozens of agencies continually shopping for new firearms.”
On the other hand, progressives like Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders have warned about local police gaining access to military grade weapons and deploying them against protesters. For Sanders, local police shouldn’t look like invading armies when they handle community issues.
This report, by Jonah Bennett, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.