Special shortened shotguns like those purchased by Department of Education

Civil libertarians are viewing with alarm a decision by the government to purchase dozens of shotguns for representatives of the U.S. Department of Education offices in Washington and Philadelphia, even though the government attests that the 12-gauge weapons are simply to replace other guns.

“Viewed in conjunction with the destruction of the Bill of Rights through Patriot Act type legislation, we can see a pattern developing of an emerging Homeland Security state and a total surveillance society,” said attorney and former Marine Corps officer Darrell Castle.

He was the Constitution Party’s 2008 vice president nominee, and told WND the fact the guns are being purchased by and delivered to the U.S. Department of Education is worrisome because of the agency’s confirmation it has its own armed security force.

Such “law enforcement” is just a further erosion of civil liberties, he said.

“The federal government apparently intends to arm officials in all departments, even the most benign such as education, with sophisticated and destructive weapons not available legally to civilians,” Castle said.

According to documentation, the Department of Education’s office of Inspector General ordered for delivery – probably this week sometime – 27 Remington 870 12-gauge shotguns with 14 inch barrels for officials in just two offices.

Education Department spokeswoman Catherine Grant explained the office is a “law enforcement agency.”

“The Office of Inspector General is the law enforcement arm of the U.S. Department of Education and is responsible for the detection of waste, fraud, abuse, and other criminal activity involving federal education funds, programs, and operations,” Grant said.

As such, its agents have full law enforcement authority, she said.

“OIG operates with full statutory law enforcement authority, which includes conducting search warrants, making arrests, and carrying firearms,” Grant said.

Standard Remington hunting shotgun from company website

She also explained the guns are merely replacements.

“The acquisition of these firearms is necessary to replace older and mechanically malfunctioning firearms, and in compliance with federal procurement requirements,” Grant said.

A report on the Department of Education’s website explains that DOE’s Office of the Inspector General has been operating for 25 years and the OIG is now responsible for a wider range of enforcement operations.

“The OIG’s statutory responsibilities have grown as well. Congress now requires that we conduct financial audits, assess information security efforts, and identify the department’s most significant management challenges in promoting economy and efficiency, and fight fraud, waste and abuse. We have also seen an increase in the role of investigations conducted by IG offices,” the report said.

But it admitted its policing authority is relatively new.

“In 2002, Congress granted our special agents, and those in certain other IG offices, statutory law enforcement authority,” the report said. “In addition, in our post-Sept. 11 world, the federal law enforcement agencies that once handled the bulk of computer crime investigations are now focused on other threats. The IG community has stepped forward and is working together to counter the cyber threat to information and security.”

But Castle is concerned about a loss of civil liberties with an increasingly controlling – and armed – federal government.

“These officials will then implement with deadly force the dictates of the
Homeland Security state. The only protection for the American people will then be more government power,” Castle said.

Grant, however, cited the results posted on the IG website, which describe the prosecution of a Massachusetts vocational school worker for making false statements, a woman charged with fraudulently getting student aid, a mail fraud case and another for false financial disclosures.

Castle isn’t convinced.

“I can see a picture of brave officials from the Department of Education bursting through the door of someone to execute a warrantless Patriot Act search for ‘waste and abuse.’ It sounds silly but it is apparently true,” he said.

“There is another possibility, of course, and that is that officials of the federal government see something bad in the future of this country and are preparing for it. The possibilities are endless but economic collapse or hyperinflation come to mind,” Castle said.

He said the worst of it is that arrests of students apparently are becoming more common.

“I have been doing a continuing series in my law office blog about individual children arrested in public schools for very minor rules infractions. We now find ourselves at a point where discipline of children is a criminal act. To replace discipline we have chosen to ruin the lives of children with criminal arrest in front of their fellow students,” Castle said.

“Our education system is helpless in the face of children raised in a valueless, morally bankrupt culture. Armed force is the only answer the system has left. Teachers cower in the face of out of control students and oppressive bureaucrats and just call the police,” Castle said.

He’d do something different.

“Close down the Department of Education and legalize competition,” he suggested.

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