by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Adam Adrzejewski and Thomas Smith of Open the Books examine the militarization of federal agencies that have little apparent relationship to law enforcement.
Sixty-seven non-military federal agencies spent $1.48 billion on guns, ammunition, and military-style equipment. Of that total amount, ‘Traditional Law Enforcement’ Agencies spent 77 percent ($1.14 billion)while ‘Administrative’ or ‘General’ Agencies spent 23 percent ($335.1 million).
Non-military federal spending on guns and ammunition jumped 104 percent from $55 million (FY2006) to $112 million (FY2011).
Nearly 6 percent ($42 million) of all federal guns and ammunition purchase transactions were wrongly coded. Some purchases were actually for ping-pong balls, gym equipment, bread, copiers, cotton balls, or cable television including a line item from the Coast Guard entered as “Cable Dude.”
Administrative agencies including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Small Business Administration (SBA), Smithsonian Institution, Social Security Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, United States Mint, Department of Education, Bureau of Engraving and Printing, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and many other agencies purchased guns, ammo, and military-style equipment.