February 11, 2013
As Washington politicians aim to restrict the Second Amendment, they should look in the mirror. The time is now to control government’s guns. Overarmed federal officials increasingly employ military tactics as a first resort in routine law enforcement. From food-safety cases to mundane financial matters, battle-ready public employees are turning America into the United States of SWAT.
FBI agents and U.S. marshals understandably are well-fortified, given their frequent run-ins with ruthless bad guys. However, as my old friend and fellow columnist Quin Hillyer notes, armed officers — if not Special Weapons and Tactics crews — populate these federal agencies: the National Park Service; the Postal Inspection Service; the departments of Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Labor and Veterans Affairs; the bureaus of Land Management and Indian Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency; and the Fish and Wildlife Service. Even Small Business Administration and Railroad Retirement Board staffers pack heat.
These “ninja bureaucrats,” as Hillyer calls them, run rampant. They, and often their local-government counterparts, deploy weapons against harmless, frequently innocent Americans who typically are accused of nonviolent civil or administrative violations.
A U.S. Food and Drug Administration SWAT unit in April 2010 struck Rainbow Acres Farm in Lancaster, Pa. From there, farmer Dan Allgyer had illegally shipped unpasteurized milk across state lines. Ignoring a woman’s right to choose raw milk, Washington launched an armed federal response against this Amish-run dairy. It subsequently folded.