By: José Niño
Late last month, United States Rep. Stephanie Bice (R-OK) made waves by calling on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to provide information about the weapons it has stockpiled in recent years. Many liberty advocates believe that these steps have led to the growing militarization of the IRS.
Rep. Bice sent IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel a letter questioning the IRS about the accounts used to purchase “weapons, gear, and ammunition,” and “data on the types of modifications to IRS-issued weapons that have been approved…”
According to figures compiled by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, the IRS has spent roughly $2.3 million on ammunition, approximately $475,000 on Smith & Wesson rifles, an additional $463,000 for Beretta tactical shotguns, and $1.2 million on ballistic shields.
Other elected officials like US Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) introduced legislation in June titled the “Why Does the IRS Have Guns Act” to get to the bottom of the IRS’s militarization moves.
While the IRS deals primarily with economic issues, namely the area of taxation, gun owners have a vested interest in keeping tabs on its most recent activity. The IRS, like the ATF, is an unaccountable agency of the permanent bureaucracy that tramples on the rights of millions of law-abiding individuals.
No matter how much they misbehave politically, government agencies like the IRS will continue to receive funding and more power, all things being equal. That’s what happens when a political body is not subject to democratic accountability. Voters at least have a chance to vote out politicians who act against their interests. However, officials at the IRS or ATF will rarely be removed from power, save a major scandal or a massive campaign by legislators to defund said institution.
Fundamentally speaking, the IRS’s militarization highlights the dangers of not checking the federal government. All governments are based on force. When they are not checked, their natural tendency is to become more powerful and distant from their subjects. At some point, they will pursue disarmament measures as a way to subjugate their citizens. This is a recipe for full-blown despotism.
All things considered, it will take concerted action from grassroots activists to pressure legislators in DC to defund and defang these institutions. None of this is going to happen overnight, but the quicker we understand what it will take to effect this change, the quicker we can achieve the ultimate goal of limiting the government and restoring previously lost freedoms.