The Guns of the IRS

We not only expect it, but we take for granted that certain agents of various governmental agencies be armed. The CIA and the FBI come immediately to mind, in addition to the ATF and several others, and there is no doubt that very few of us would raise any concerns whatsoever. But what about the Internal Revenue Service, or perhaps the United States Department of Education? Should those folks be armed as well?

According to the Department of Treasury’s solicitation number TIRWR-10-Q-00023, the IRS intends to purchase sixty Remington 870 12 gauge pump-action shotguns for its Criminal Investigation Division. Likewise, in the spring of 2010, the U.S. Department of Education purchased twenty-seven of the Model 870 weapons to supplement their existing shotgun inventory. Now, that may raise some eyebrows and perhaps some well-placed questions. Why are they needed, especially with the good people at Department of Education? Aren’t they there just to teach our children? I’m relatively certain that our public school system is not teaching any gun safety courses, so why are the weapons needed?

Alright, before we go into a tailspin and start placing frantic calls to our senators and congress men and women, it should be understood that the Department of Education has a law enforcement branch. The Office of Inspector General (OIG), is usually responsible for the detection of fraud and waste, and just about any other criminal activity, when those crimes are directly linked to federal education funds. The OIG people therefore have full statutory law enforcement authority, and they do carry out search warrants and make arrests. So, obviously they have to be armed.


Okay, but what about the IRS? If you happen to go to their website, you will see clearly stated that they have a criminal investigations division which does the following: “Criminal Investigation (CI) serves the American public by investigating potential criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Code and related financial crimes in a manner that fosters confidence in the tax system and compliance with the law.” The website goes on to say that, “some people bend the law — others break it. Criminal Investigation’s job is to pursue the lawbreakers.”


So, that’s it then, governmental agencies such as the IRS and the Department of Education do indeed employ federal agents whose job it is to investigate criminal activity. I guess the only question I have concerns the issues of duplication of efforts. It turns out that the FBI handles many of those very same criminal cases, and even some of the ones affecting the U.S. Post Office, yet the Post Office is another agency that employs their very own agents. While I don’t have any quarrel with all these folks doing all that wonderful work on our behalf, I just hope that they share information to make life a little easier. Having worked with the State Department for the better part of my life, I wonder.

On a side note, and speaking from personal experience, the Model 870 is a lovely weapon when you want the most bang for your buck. For me, the sight of shredding paper targets at the gun range with one twelve gauge double ought round, or the feel on my left shoulder with the release of a twelve gauge slug, brings an odd sense of satisfaction, far more sometimes, than endlessly punching 9MM holes in that same target, and never seeing it fall. Oh, and speaking of the 9MM rounds, the IRS and Department of Education agents also carry side arms, as well they should.

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