Amid the current din over assault weapons and body armor, consider one domestic organization’s fearsome arsenal of military-style equipment.
In the space of eight years, the group amassed a stockpile of pistols, shotguns, and semiautomatic rifles, along with ample supplies of ammunition, liquid explosives, gun scopes, and suppressors. In its cache as well are night-vision goggles, gas cannons, plus armored vests, drones, and surveillance equipment. Between 2006 and 2014, this organization spent nearly $4.8 million to arm itself. Yet its aggressive weapons buildup has drawn almost no public attention.
Does all this firepower belong to a jihadist terror cell? A right-wing hate group? A vicious urban gang?
None of the above. It is the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, an agency of the US Department of Agriculture, that has built up such a formidable collection of munitions. And far from being an outlier, it is one of dozens of federal agencies that spends lavishly on guns, ammunition, and military-style equipment.
Incredibly, there are now fewer US Marines than there are officers at federal administrative agencies with the authority to carry weapons and make arrests. The soaring growth of this federal arsenal alarms Adam Andrzejewski, the head of American Transparency’s OpenTheBooks.com, which researched and assembled the new report. “Just who,” he asks, “are the feds planning to battle?”
If you’re an ordinary joe who’s really in sincere doubt about the answer to that question, just stick around and you’ll find out soon enough.