Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
Federal, non-military agencies, noted radio host Mark Levin last week, have purchased enough ammunition recently to not only shoot every American five times, but also engage in a prolonged, domestic war.
The numbers are based on recent reports that put the total federal ammunition buy in the last 10 months at approaching two billion rounds.
“To provide some perspective,” Levin noted, “experts estimate that at the peak of the Iraq war American troops were firing around 5.5 million rounds per month. At that rate, the [Department of Homeland Security] is armed now for a 24-year Iraq war. A 24-year Iraq war!”
What do federal agencies need with all that ammunition?
The staggering number and lack of details in the official explanation, however, has led to rampant speculation, including concerns the DHS is arming itself to fight off insurrection among Americans.
“I’m going to tell you what I think is going on,” Levin offered. “I don’t think domestic insurrection. Law enforcement and national security agencies, they play out multiple scenarios. … I’ll tell you what I think they’re simulating: the collapse of our financial system, the collapse of our society and the potential for widespread violence, looting, killing in the streets, because that’s what happens when an economy collapses.
“I suspect that just in case our fiscal situation, our monetary situation, collapses, and following it the civil society collapses, that is the rule of law, they want to be prepared,” Levin said. “I know why the government’s arming up: It’s not because there’s going to be an insurrection; it’s because our society is unraveling.”
Audio of Levin’s discussion on the ammunition buy can be heard below:
As WND reported, even major gun-rights organizations like the National Rifle Association have attempted to tamp down worries over the amount of ammunition, suggesting the number of bullets bought, spread out over five years and across all the federal agencies with armed agents – considering the number of rounds needed for training, qualification and service bags – isn’t exorbitant.
“It’s not the number of bullets we need to worry about,” Jeff Knox, director of The Firearms Coalition, told WND, “but the number of feds with guns it takes to use those bullets.”
“There are currently more than 70 different federal law enforcement agencies employing over 120,000 officers with arrest and firearms authority, according to Bureau of Justice Statistics data for 2008,” explained Knox in a recent WND column. “That’s an increase of nearly 30 percent between 2004 and 2008. If the trends have continued upward at a relatively steady rate, that would put the total number of federal law enforcement officers at somewhere between 135,000 and 145,000.
“That’s a pretty staggering number,” Knox continued, “especially when you consider that there are only an estimated 765,000 state and local law enforcement officers. That means that about one in seven law enforcement officers in the country works directly for the federal government, not a local jurisdiction.”
For years, WND has been at the forefront of reporting the growth in federal police power being dispersed across dozens of government agencies:
Also in 1997, as part of a ongoing series on the militarization of the federal government, WND reported on the armed, “environment crime” cops employed by the Environmental Protection Agency and a federal law enforcement program that had trained 325,000 prospective federal police since 1970.
WND also reported on thousands of armed officers in the Inspectors’ General office and a gun-drawn raid on a local flood control center to haul off 40 boxes of … paperwork.
In 1999, WND CEO Joseph Farah warned there were more than 80,000 armed federal law enforcement agents, constituting “the virtual standing army over which the founding fathers had
nightmares.” Today, that number has nearly doubled.
Also in 1999 WND reported plans made for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to use military and police forces to deal with Y2K.
In 2000, Farah discussed a Justice Department report on the growth of federal police agents under President Clinton, something Farah labeled “the biggest arms buildup in the history of the
federal government – and it’s not taking place in the Defense Department.”
A 2001 report warned of a persistent campaign by the Department of the Interior, this time following 9/11, to gain police powers for its agents.
Most recently, WND reported that while local police have found themselves short of necessary ammunition, the federal government has been stockpiling billions of rounds for its non-military, non-FBI law enforcement officers.
Knox conceded in his column that good arguments can be made for the existence of a dedicated border guard and federal agencies to protect high-ranking officials, protect the federal currency and coordinate enforcement of laws regarding interstate commerce, and so forth.
“But bureaucrats who inspect the records of retailers and manufacturers have no business carrying guns and badges,” Knox opined, “nor do those who investigate white-collar crime for the Small Business Administration and the Department of Education.”
Chris Knox, director of communications for The Firearms Coalition, told WND legitimate concerns about a police state stem from “a set of three intertwined problems,” namely, “militarization of local police, federalization of law enforcement (including local cops getting goodies from federal forfeiture actions) and the expansion of federal law enforcement, where nearly every agency has its own armed service, not just the Drug Enforcement Agency, but administrative agencies like the Department of Education.”
Give all those federal cops two billion bullets, Jeff Knox says, and now there’s cause for concern.