To strict constitutionalists or anyone with a vague semblance of reality, the purpose of the 2nd amendment is clear and concise. In just 27 words, it imbues the citizenry with the immutable right to bear arms. That right being codified as penultimate to only the right to freely exercise speech, religious observance, assembly, and to petition the government represents the crucial importance it served to form the Founding Father's vision for the future upon the birth of their new nation. Just years removed from the throes of tyranny, the members Constitutional Convention knew how important it was for citizens to protect themselves from the inherent potential that governance may ultimately lead to oppression.
Now, at a moment in that same nation's history when the narrative surrounding the 2nd Amendment has arguably shifted the large shouts from the echo chamber of popular opinion as being vociferously against it, reminders to why it exists in the first place are even more pronounced. Though mass shootings indiscriminately occur routinely, representing the need for adherence to the right to bear arms as a means of protection, those catastrophes only serve to deter attention away from the government's rapid expansion which poses an even greater looming threat. After all, the text of the 2nd Amendment contextualizes the vitality of the right to bears arms as being inextricably tied to the security of a free state and tyranny is antithetical to that security.
In the centuries since the passage of the Bill of Rights, perhaps no government agency represents the tyrannical tendencies of government better than the Internal Revenue Service. Upon closer examination of the agency, perhaps no other federal body illustrates the need to preserve the right to bear arms now more than ever as well. Case in point: while the federal government under the Biden Administration has done its best to keep law abiding citizens from being able to own firearms, it's done more than ever to attempt to expand the armory of the IRS.
As of 2019, the IRS had amassed 4,600 firearms and in excess of 5 million rounds of live ammunition to arm its Criminal Investigation Division. The logic? Apparently a gun isn't as important to protect yourself, family, and community as it is to collect your taxes. Among those 4,600 guns, the IRS paramilitary unit is stocked with pistols, rifles, shotguns, and automatic weapons. The stockpile of ammunition for those types of weapons comes in at 3,151,500, 1,472,050, 367,750, and 56,000 rounds, respectively.
Of course, those figures are retroactive to the penultimate year of the Trump Administration and thus does not refer to data relevant to the current President's office. Yet, the intent of the Biden Administration to expand the armament of the IRS is crystal clear. In its infamous and failed Build Back Better bill, the current administration sought to add $88 billion dollars of funding for the IRS. The bulk of that funding, $45 billion to be exact, would be reserved for enforcement operations. In stark juxtaposition, that proposed funding would have only dedicated $2 billion to taxpayer services. Though enforcement goes beyond just the IRS Criminal Investigation Division's role at the agency, it would assuredly bolster their budget and consequently enable the expansion of their existing arsenal.
Despite the failure of Build Back Better, the federal government has not been discouraged from continuing to arm the IRS' enforcement operations with weapons it would also seek to bar from the rightful hands of taxpayers. To date in 2022, the IRS has spent an additional $725,000 on ammunition in just the first 6 months of the year, bringing the total expenditures for that purpose to $11 million over the last decade.
With the reckless abandon the federal government shows in even arming its most unassuming agencies, it should be no shock that the IRS isn't alone in being militarized. According to the oxymoronically named U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), a report in 2018 cataloged the vast array of arms given to multiple agencies. According to the report, the Environmental Protection Agency fielded 48 Federal Law Enforcement Officers (FLEOs) who held over 250 firearms, an excess of 130,000 rounds of ammunition, and 21 pieces of tactical equipment. Those figures paled in comparison to that of the Food and Drug Administration which was staffed with 232 FLEOs who were armed with over 500 firearms and nearly 200,000 rounds of ammunition. The National Institutes of Health was also examined by the GAO report but withheld any relevant data they had citing it to be too "sensitive" to disclose. As such, it is unclear how many of their weapons may have ended up in Wuhan.
Though the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) would surpass the aforementioned agencies with 444 FLEOs, over 1,200 firearms, and nearly 1 million rounds of live ammo, the IRS would lap them in that arms race by a country mile. According to the GAO, the IRS staffed 2,148 FLEOs in its Criminal Investigation Department as well as 9 others in its Police Officer Section. These figures illustrate the unrivaled armament that the IRS possesses all in the name of enforcing taxation.
Coincidentally, it was the OIG which found that agents of the IRS Criminal Investigation Department had accidentally discharged their weapons 11 times from 2009 to 2011. The audit conducted by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) that documented this figure also discovered that those IRS agents fired their weapons on accident more than they intentionally shot them. In that report, the TIGTA chronicled the lack of proper training of these agents, stating “We found that the four visited field offices did not always provide remedial training when an accidental discharge occurred due to special agent negligence,”
The obvious lack of accountability from the IRS and the Biden Administration's willingness to increase its firepower nevertheless has motivated Florida Congressional Representative and House Judiciary Committee member Matt Gaetz to introduce the Disarm the IRS Act of 2022. While Gaetz and supporters of his proposed legislation including Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) don't expect the bill to become law, they hope it will serve to shed light on the concerning trend of an increasingly militarized IRS.
Call me old-fashioned, but I thought the heaviest artillery an IRS agent would need would be a calculator, not $725,000 worth of ammunition. pic.twitter.com/ek11cFN8in— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) June 22, 2022
While the embattled congressman fights a losing battle in that pursuit, it's better for the Disarm the IRS Act of 2022 to serve as a wake up call for Americans than another Waco or Ruby Ridge. Fortunately, the Supreme Court of the United States has tendered majority opinions in its last session which indicate it will champion the 2nd Amendment and protect American's right to bear arms. An ardent defense of that ilk is imperative given that citizens are seemingly outgunned by every government agency, proving the axiom that if the state has a monopoly on one thing - it's violence.