House Bill Would De-Militarize Certain Federal Agencies

U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart (Photo: Stewart)

U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart (Photo: Stewart)

(Editor’s note: This article was a submission from freelance writer Mike Doran)

House Republicans have introduced legislation that would strip non-law-enforcement federal agencies of their ability to purchase firearms and other weapons.

Now, this is the common sense gun control we can all get behind!

The bill, called the Regulatory Agency De-militarization Act, or the RAD Act, is sponsored by Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) and it aims to repeal the arrest and firearm authority given to inspector general offices as part of the 2002 Homeland Security Act.

These days, non-law-enforcement agencies like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Food and Drug Administration use SWAT-like teams to conduct raids and arrests.

Rep. Stewart says that this is unacceptable.

“I understand that federal agents must be capable of protecting themselves, but what we have observed goes far beyond providing necessary protection,” Stewart said Wednesday. “When there are genuinely dangerous situations involving federal law, that’s the job of the Department of Justice, not regulatory agencies like the FDA or the Department of Education.”

These agencies are not shy about using their armed divisions, either. Stewart mentions when the FDA raided a grocery store selling raw milk, but there are other instances, such as when the EPA raided an Alaskan mining town.

Remember when Gibson Guitar was raided by the Justice Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service?

The RAD Act has three pieces:

  • Repeals the arrest and firearm authority granted to Offices of Inspectors General in the 2002 Homeland Security Act.
  • Prohibits federal agencies, other than those traditionally tasked with enforcing federal law—such as the FBI and U.S. Marshals, from purchasing machine guns, grenades, and other weaponry regulated under the National Firearms Act.
  • Directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to write a complete report detailing all federal agencies, including Offices of Inspectors General, with specialized units that receive special tactical or military-style training and that respond to high-risk situations that fall outside the capabilities of regular law enforcement officers.

According to a Justice Department report in 2008, there were 120,000 full-time federal officers authorized to carry firearms and make arrests, and more than a dozen of the 40 federal agencies who had armed divisions were not associated with law enforcement. These agencies included the Veterans Health Administration, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and the Library of Congress.

“Not only is it overkill, but having these highly armed units within dozens of agencies is duplicative, costly, heavy handed, dangerous and destroys any sense of trust between citizens and the federal government,” Stewart said.

Also included in the bill is a clause requiring any agency with their own tactical team to give a detailed report to Congress of the training, weapons, the criteria for activating the unit and how frequently it was activated.

Specific examples of the militarization of federal regulatory agencies include:

  • In July 2010, a multi-agency taskforce, including armed officers from the Food and Drug Administration, raided a Venice, California organic grocery store suspected of using raw milk. (LA Times, July 10, 2010).
  • In June 2011, armed federal agents with the Department of Education’s OIG broke down the door of a Stockton, California home at 6 AM and handcuffed a man suspected of student aid fraud. (Washington Post, June 8, 2011).
  • In July 2013, an armed multi-agency taskforce, including officers from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Bureau of Land Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service raided a small Alaska mining operation suspected of violating the Clean Water Act. (Washington Times, Oct. 11, 2013).
  • On May 7th, 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s OIG released a solicitation for submachine guns.

The RAD Act was introduced shortly before the shooting in San Bernardino, California, that resulted in the death of 14 victims and has led many, including President Obama, to call for more gun control.

Something tells me this isn’t the type of gun control Obama was looking for.

{ 28 comments… add one }
  • missourisam September 8, 2017, 12:16 pm

    What I could never understand was why the postal service needed with millions of rounds of ammo. Of course this buy up of ammo occurred during the Obama administrations push for more gun control, and during the so called “ammo shortage” that drove the price up to the point that many shooters can no longer afford to enjoy their sport.

  • 2B or not 2B 2A December 16, 2015, 6:07 am

    So the Department of Education has a military!!?? I knew of the Dept of AG, NOAA, and Fish and Wildlife. Remember the Bundy Ranch? So why doesn’t the Dept of Education protect our children while being educated in our schools? I see no other reason for this department to have a military style unit except for the protection of our schools and universities, and monitored in State I might add, not Federaly.
    Sign this bill Mr. President.

  • Conrad Lingis December 15, 2015, 12:00 am

    Not far enough! I’ve personally witnessed po-dunk small-town LEAs playing siege ops with all sorts of military (riot gear, mobile command centers, armored troop carriers, etc.) paid for with Homeland Security cash… which is odd since they seem to be used primarily for small-tine drug interdictions. This, of course, leads to more toys for the cops as they confiscate everything in sight. And just IMAGINE: all of that unaccounted-for CASH…

  • Larry Koehn December 12, 2015, 7:05 pm

    But if they do this Obozo loses his “Brown Shirts.” The government could be reduced to honest law enforcement and out of the intimidation business. Next thing you know the IRS will just collect taxes.

  • Ponderosadon December 12, 2015, 12:25 pm

    If any armed groups or individuals, government or not break into my home at 6am or any time that I or my wife are home, people are going to die. Remember the sheriff in Texas who died doing a no knock raid. I believe the constitution speaks to unreasonable search and seizure and due process. The Obama government just wants to know no one will be shooting back when they violate the constitution of the United States of America

    • Dalton December 18, 2015, 8:14 am

      There is zero chance of civilians not firing back. There are too many ppl who seen the writing, then took action. And im not talking about yesterday. They say there are 300+ million guns in the U.S. The + is for the unregistered guns snuck into the country with no papers.

  • Gabriel Lucero December 11, 2015, 11:54 am

    It does not go far enough.
    Laws are supposed to cover everyone and if we as law abiding citizens are banned from certain items or weapons so should everyone else including law enforcement and only exclude out military that should never operate against the people nor within our borders.
    ???”Some animals are more equal that others”???

  • Blankovich December 11, 2015, 11:47 am

    All weapons and certainly all SWAT type groups should be eliminated from all Federal government agencies with the exception of the Secret Service, FBI and U.S. Marshals Service. PERIOD. The Marshals Service should maintain a pool of SWAT teams and simple armed officers (that can accompany an IRS agent to a meeting if required) for all other agencies to utilize. The EPA having its own SWAT officers is as frightening a development of the living, breathing bureaucracy that can literally fight for its survival. Think about it, the EPA can simply pass regulations that Congress doesn’t have to agree with and back them up with armed SWAT teams. This is frightening. If any other agency, including Justice, needs a SWAT team they should be required to go before a special panel of judges who DO NOT WORK FOR JUSTICE, and argue for the right to use a SWAT team for a specific, limited, one time usage. In the hearing along with the panel of judges, will be an attorney for the U.S. Marshals Service. The U.S. Marshals attorney MUST support the request and the panel of judges must also agree that it is appropriate to, without any notice, in the dead of night, raid whatever the target is. The EPA is the most ridiculous agency to have SWAT capability. Pollution is something that cannot be suddenly hidden or dispersed; it’s crazy, power mad bureaucrats who think they need to stride in behind a wall of weapons and look for excess CO2!

  • Mark Wynn December 11, 2015, 10:40 am

    This practice of non-law enforcement agencies purchasing assault arms and conducting raids is truly scary. The current administration seems to be working hard to disarm private citizens while at the same time arming more segments of government. I know the most overused term in politics is “fascism,” but if you read history this is one of the things Hitler did in taking over Germany.

    • Rouge1 December 11, 2015, 11:41 am

      Don’t you remember when Obama said he would make a civilian army greater than our armed forces?

      • JackT December 11, 2015, 5:39 pm

        You are absolutely correct sir.
        It is not a coincidence that these are the same Federal Agencies being militarized during the Obama presidency, who has stated, “We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We have got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded.”
        These are the same people who want to take your guns away by abolishing the 2nd Amendment. But at the same time, they know that they will need a National Police Force to impose this Agenda 21 Police State on our citizens because our military would refuse to do it.

  • Alan December 11, 2015, 9:49 am

    And this is exactly what our Founding Fathers were against. And warned us about.
    As far as I’m concerned, the F.B.I. is enough, the federal agencies DON’T need any more enforcement “clout” than that.
    That way, we only need watch ONE group! The BATFE doesn’t need that power either, they have proven themselves amongst the most inept of most.

  • No Bueno December 11, 2015, 9:08 am

    That is not even a good start… they take away arrest authority specifically from the one agency thst needs it. Inspector Generals. I WANT those guys to becable to arrest these government law breakers.
    They dont say disarm ALL government branches that aren’t specifically involved in traditional law enfircement NOW. It just says it keeps them from purchasing … doesnt say they cant get them from some other branch.

    Not even close to what we need to stop the militarization of the feds.

    • Captain Bob December 11, 2015, 11:37 am

      And we need to begin looking at local police departments. Why every Lower Podunk town needs an armored vehicle with .50 cal M2 machineguns is incomprehensible to me. The Feds offered these $500.000 vehicles cheap and Mayberry and other towns snapped them up. For that matter, local police forces (including their SWAT teams) should be banned from looking like military soldiers. They don’t need all that crap to do their jobs and should emphasize that they are police, not the military by their uniforms. It would go a long way to re-establishing citizen trust in the police.

      • Jc December 12, 2015, 2:33 pm

        Really….And what would San Bernardino area law enforcement have done without their armored vehicles responding to the terrorist threat there. You must apparently work in the military and not from a local police agency. I thought local police was our actual first line of defense at home. You know that the military can’t respond. So if the terrorist have 50 calibers, what are local Police supposed to use. I believe you need to rethink your strategy. Shouldn’t LE have a superior hand? Maybe they need bicycles and BB guns. Bet you would like that armored personnel carrier if you were a hostage being shot at by a group of terrorists. But I guess you wouldn’t. Oh well…..

    • Rouge1 December 11, 2015, 11:44 am

      The inspectors office is corrupt.

  • Ram6 December 11, 2015, 8:59 am

    And the reason the U.S. Postal Service needs millions of rounds of ammunition and an arsenal of small arms for postal inspectors is…???? This is what happens when open ended legislation is handed over to bureacracies to write regulations. They grant themselves more and more power.

    Congress should be required to write specific regulations into every law passed. The agency which is tasked to enforce those laws should be restricted to exactly what’s contained in the law and not be allowed to expand its reach and scope. This will serve to reduce much of the onerous regulations created by bureacrats with nothing better to do than dream up stuff to make themselves feel good and it will reduce the amount of laws passed by congress if they have to spend more time writing the regulations as well.

    Having said all of this, I will be very surprised if this well intentioned bill ever passes. Even if it does this President, drunk on what he considers his omnipotent power will veto it and every Democrat will back him.

  • J Nave December 11, 2015, 8:47 am

    As a retired Police Officer I have observed too many agencies arm their employees which is not appropriate. They should not be allowed to act in their own interest to raid and arrest citizens that they have disagreements with. They can solicit the courts to process their concerns and let the Law Enforcement Agencies process the complaints.
    Disarm the BLM, FAA, FCC, and any other agencies that have armed employees and SWAT teams. This is one act of “Gun Control” that I would support.

    • Rich December 11, 2015, 2:42 pm

      FAA is not armed. However the DOT is armed.

  • steve December 11, 2015, 8:36 am

    As much as i would like to see this ,It will never happen,the communist govt that is being run out of d c will never allow this.He needs his pet army to have all this weaponry so when tshtf they will be able to fight to control the American people for the final overthrow of THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!So the best thing for all Americans that love their freedom is buy as many guns and ammo as possible while you still can.Then lock and load and be ready to fight and always be looking over your shoulder because the enemy looks just like you and me thanks to this regime!

  • Dr. Strangelove December 11, 2015, 7:58 am

    The Library of Congress SWAT team isn’t going to like this at all.

    • Captain Bob December 11, 2015, 11:27 am

      LOL! …and the Dept. of Education’s request for Remington 870 shotguns and 1,000,000,000,000 rounds of .40 caliber pistol ammo might just get cancelled….

  • Anthony Lamando December 11, 2015, 7:14 am

    If guns are outlawed only Union Scum (AFL-CIO) will have guns. The “world economy” is only for us not for them. They still retain their outrageous salaries and benefits while the rest of us are sold out. And now they think they own this country. That will be the day.

  • Bernard Lounds December 11, 2015, 6:37 am

    Thi is real gun control.It keeps the guns out of the real criminals in our society,the government.

    • Ray Hackett December 11, 2015, 3:46 pm

      How will the department of ag protect from the killer CHEESE and melons, and how will the BLM kill the rancher’s cows? And how will the department of education protect from the toddlers? And the poor FDA, some of those pills are dangerous ya know.

  • Eric December 11, 2015, 5:43 am

    If this passes, I will be truly amazed beyond belief!!

  • Will Drider December 9, 2015, 10:10 pm

    A tyrannical government arms itself every place it its careless fingers reach. Further more, they work to disarm its citizens so they they can not be opposed as they take your wealth, property, livelyhood and liberty. The writing has been on the wall for a long time: Germany – the Fatherland, Soviet Union – the Motherland and now America – the HOMELAND! Was our name: U.S.A. broken? Can’t the politicians spare the time to say Our correct title? Is United States of America not politically correct anymore as we may offend our enemies and illegal immigrants.
    P.S. Its not Merica either.

  • Georgie K December 8, 2015, 9:35 am

    Send that bill across to my cluttered desk, and I’d sign it into law post-haste!!

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