We know that certain agencies in the federal government are armed — and for good reason. They include the FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

More and more, however, other federal agencies are getting armed — to the teeth.

It began more than 3 years ago, in March 2010, when news came that the U.S. Department of Education purchased 27 Remington 870 shotguns.

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This is what a Remington 870 shotgun looks like

A year later, news came that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ordered 450 million rounds of .40 caliber ammunition.

Four months later, DHS added high-powered battle rifles to its arsenal, followed by its purchase of yet millions more rounds of hollow-point bullets a month later, and sightings of heavily-armored DHS vehicles another month later.

In April 2013, we learned that DHS used 1,000 more rounds per person than the U.S. Army!

But DHS and the Dept. of Education are not the only federal agencies acquiring arms:

EPA raidFox News reports on Sept. 14, 2013, that according to a June 2012 Justice Department report40 federal agencies – including nearly a dozen typically not associated with law enforcement, such as the Library of Congress (!), Federal Reserve Board, and the National Institutes of Health — have armed divisions.

The agencies employ about 120,000 full-time officers authorized to carry guns and make arrests.

The FBI, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and Park Service are among 24 federal agencies employing more than 250 full-time armed officers with arrest authority, according the DOJ report, which is based on the 2008 Census of Federal Law Enforcement Officers.

The other 16 agencies have less than 250 officers and include NOAA as well as the Library of Congress, the Federal Reserve Board and the National Institutes of Health.

The number of federal department with armed personnel climbs to 73 when adding in the 33 offices of inspector general, the government watchdogs for agencies as large as the Postal Service to the Government Printing Office, whose IG has only five full-time officers.

The Department of Homeland Security employs nearly half of all federal officers, through Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the most recent statistics show. The statistics also show the number of CBP officers increased by 33% from 2004 to 2008. The number for ICE was 20% over the same period.


Dr. Eowyn is the Editor of Fellowship of the Minds and a regular contributor to The D.C. Clothesline.

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