The issue of Internal Revenue Service agents carrying weapons may warrant further scrutiny amid the nationwide distrust of the agency for targeting conservative organizations.
The IRS is also the chief enforcer of Obamacare requirements.
In 2010, the Federal Business Opportunities website posted an IRS request for a quote on the price of shotguns for the agency’s Criminal Investigation Division.
The site sought a quote for 60 Remington Model 870 Police 12-gauge pump-action shotguns, the only weapons authorized for IRS duty.
The IRS Criminal Division includes roughly 2,700 special agents who are required to carry a firearm.
According to the basic qualifications for a position as an IRS special agent for the criminal division, “applicants must carry and use a firearm.”
In October 2012, J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, released a report charging IRS agents need more thorough firearms training and must better report accidental firings of their guns.
“Special agents not properly trained in the use of firearms could endanger the public, as well as their fellow special agents, and expose the IRS to potential litigation over injuries or damages,” George said at the time.
George said IRS agents accidentally fired their weapons 11 times during fiscal years 2009 through fiscal 2011.
‘Right wing’ fear mongering?
When the IRS publicly sought the 60 shotguns in 2010, the progressive activist group Media Matters for America attacked what it labeled the “right-wing blogosphere” for “baselessly fear monger[ing]” over the IRS weapons issue.
Media Matters blasted the popular Drudge Report for its Feb. 3, 2010, headline “The IRS is buying shotguns!”
American Thinker blogger Ralph Alter said of the IRS weapons request: “It looks like the IRS under the Obama administration is getting serious about improving its ability to collect taxes and enforce the tax codes.”
Radio host Tammy Bruce was also spotlighted by Media Matters after she posted on her blog the IRS request for a quote on weapons and commented: “Nothing warms me up in the morning like the idea that the IRS is preparing a swat team equipped with pump-action shotguns. I guess [Obama] thinks they’re gonna have to start shooting at us to squeeze what we have left out of us?” She concluded: “Give us your money or we’ll shoot!”
Mark Levin gets a visit
Earlier this month, national radio host Mark Levin revealed on his show that he received a visit from armed Treasury Department agents after penning a March 2012 letter complaining the IRS was targeting tea party organizations.
Levin noted the two Treasury officials who visited him were “armed” and carrying weapons by claiming “we’re law enforcement.”
Earlier this month, Josh Margolin of ABC News reported that journalists touring the IRS offices in Cincinnati were “escorted” by an armed federal officer.
“The fact is the trust in the IRS is gone,” Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga, said at a speech yesterday. “The American people have lost trust in this organization and rightfully so.”
With additional research by Joshua Klein.