Civilian government spent billions on military-style weapons over past decade

A non-profit government watchdog organization, American Transparency, released its OpenTheBooks Oversight Report on June 17, documenting the armament of non-Defense Department agencies of the federal government over the past decade.

The report, entitled “The Militarization of America: Non-Military Federal Agencies Purchases of Guns, Ammunition, and Military-Style Equipment“, specifically details firearm and ammunition expenditures of 67 government organizations, including 53 regulatory and administrative agencies.

The monetary numbers are staggering: between fiscal years 2006 and 2014, non-defense related agencies spent $1.48 billion on military-style equipment, including $11 million by the IRS; $11.6 million by the Department of Veterans Affairs; $4.77 million by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (purchases included propane cannons and liquid explosives); and $3.1 million by the EPA.

Perhaps more surprisingly, 53 purely bureaucratic agencies such the U.S. Mint, Small Business Administration, Social Security Administration, Education Department and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, spent a combined $335 million during the same time period to stockpile weapons and defense accessories.

The report, authored by American Transparency founder Adam Adrzejewski and endorsed by former Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn, highlights the exponential rise in the number of federal non-Defense personnel with the power to makes arrests — now 200,000 — almost three times the number that existed in 1996, when only 74,500 had such authority.


The 200,000 officer-count does not include the number of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel for national security reasons, or the expansion of regulatory agency officer personnel since 2008.

In addition, the Department of Homeland Security and Department Health and Human Services (HHS) ‘special agent’ count is not exact. However, the new HHS “National Training Operations Center”, which serves as “an operational readiness, emergency response, crisis room and command post for HHS headquarters and staff,” is now open in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area.

Other eye-opening purchases by non-Defense agencies include, $14.7 million for Tasers; $4 million for grenades and grenade launchers; $1.6 million for drones; and $314,000 for paintball equipment.

With federal organizations as seemingly benign as the Smithsonian Institution and the Railroad Retirement Board feeling the need to arm themselves, politicians shouldn’t be surprised at the public outrage over legislative proposals to outlaw “assault weapons” for individual citizens.

The government has more firepower than ever. Curtailing Second Amendment rights, as the Supreme Court did Monday, is yet another breach of civil liberty in America.


[Wall Street Journal] [Forbes] [RT News] [Photo courtesy]