Rep. Bridenstine: Why Does USDA Need Submachine Guns?
Friday, May 23, 2014 08:38 PM
By: Cathy Burke
Following the Department of Agriculture's May 7 solicitation for submachine guns with 30-round magazine clips, Rep. Jim Bridenstine is demanding an explanation.
"The fear of my constituents is that the USDA is expanding outside of its intended mission," the Oklahoma Republican wrote the agency on Wednesday.
According to AmmoLand Shooting Sports News, the timing of the USDA request for the weaponry is suspect, coming "just one month after the [Cliven] Bundy embarrassment."
"It seems that the USDA, which oversees America’s vast tracks of forested land, may be preparing itself in the event some cowboys want their heads of cattle to munch government-owned grass," the website stated.
Bundy gained national attention in April during an armed standoff in Nevada over cattle grazing rights.
The USDA's solicitation was first reported by Breitbart.
But the farming agency told Politico there are more than 100 agents employed by the law enforcement division of the department’s Office of the Inspector General who carry such weapons, explaining those agents are involved in the investigation of criminal activities, including fraud, theft of government property, bribery, extortion, smuggling, and assaults on employees.
Bob Owens, the editor of BearingArms.com, wrote the response was predictable.
"They will no doubt attempt to justify their purchase of military hardware by explaining that they conduct criminal investigations and may need to do armed raids," he wrote, adding:
"This is part of a trend to arm every branch of federal government, whether the individual agency has a legitimate need for a paramilitary force or not."
AmmoLand noted the Government Accountability Office in February downplayed concerns about big ammunition purchases by the Department of Homeland Security.