August 11, 2014

House Bill Would Rein In Militarization of Regulatory Agencies

At least a group of lawmakers think regulatory agencies like the Department of Education and Food and Drug Agency don’t need military-grade weapons. The Homeland Security Act of 2002 gave arrest and firearm authority to Offices of Inspectors General. Since then, these agencies have created SWAT-like teams to go on merry little raids like the Department of Education’s morning raid on two men suspected of student aid fraud in 2011. While some employee of Education probably gets a kick out of dressing up in body armor, waving around a semiautomatic rifle and screaming “DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION! GET ON THE GROUND NOW! YOU ARE WANTED FOR STUDENT AID FRAUD!” some people have real concerns with, say, the ability for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to buy grenades. Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) introduced a bill that would rein in the militarization of federal regulatory agencies. “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,” Steward wrote in a statement. “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.” More…

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