We don’t talk a lot about the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, all that much. For the most part, they don’t get into guns or gun politics. There’s no reason for us to talk about them here, even if they are managing to do a lot of stupid stuff in general.
But, it seems, that the EPA isn’t completely out of the discussion on guns.
You see, while there are many who lament the Bruen decision because we no longer have to justify why we want to carry, some rather bizarre federal agencies, including the EPA, have been spending a lot of money on guns.
Topline: The Environmental Protection Agency isn’t traditionally associated with ranged weaponry, but the federal government has spent almost $620,000 since 2018 to buy guns, ammunition, and more for EPA employees.
Key facts: Auditors at OpenTheBooks.com found that between 2018 and 2022, the EPA spent close to $400,000 of federal funds just on ammunition. That came after the EPA purchased 500,000 rounds of ammo and 600 guns from 2010-2017.
Over $100,000 went to buying armor for EPA employees. Funds were also used for “optical sighting and ranging equipment,” for “night vision equipment” and “security vehicles.”
Background: The EPA has a Criminal Enforcement Program, which had a budget of more than $70 million in 2023. Its goals include “protecting communities with environmental justice concerns” and curbing illegal sales of pesticides.
The EPA also has its own Office of Homeland Security, which provides “systemic preparation” for climate and environment related threats. Its budget was nearly $90 million last year.
Those divisions include 259 employees with job titles of “Criminal Investigation” or some similar variation. Those employees collectively earned almost $32 million in salary last year, with 217 of them making six figures.
Now, I don’t have an issue with a federal regulatory agency having investigators in and of itself. Whether I like regulations or not, the current status quo is violating those regulations constitutes a crime, so it makes sense for the regulators to have investigators.
But we’re talking $620,000 spent in firearms and ammo for 259 employees. That’s nearly $2,400 spent per investigator, and to be frank, I’m not sure any of them actually need to be armed.
See, the EPA is a regulatory agency, not a law enforcement agency. If they find an arrest is needed, they should be able to call the local FBI field office and get them to go in. The FBI, of course, has plenty of guns already.
What bothers me is that people want folks like you and me to have to justify why we “need” guns, but thinks nothing of federal agencies buying firearms left and right.
As the above-linked post notes, other agencies are also stocking up on guns including the Social Security Administration and the Department of Labor. This isn’t new, though, since we’ve known for more than a decade about the Department of Education having had a SWAT Team.
The truth of the matter is that I want justification why every agency in the federal government seems to have guns purchased with our tax dollars. It’s not because I disbelieve in guns, but because every penny the federal government spends comes out of our pockets. They need to justify every dime, in my book, especially as so many federal agencies try to infringe on our right to have firearms.
Remember that the ATF started as a tax collection agency and morphed over time into federal law enforcement. If we don’t start demanding answers for this waste, we’re likely to see it happen elsewhere.
And the EPA is just one example.
After all, I’m not sure I want to trust guns to an agency that thought a mud puddle counted as “navigable waters” in any way, shape, or form.