As TheBlaze reported Wednesday, Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) tweeted that he observed IRS agents training with AR-15s when he toured the Department of Homeland Security.
The big unanswered question: Why?
IRS media relations has given an answer (of sorts) to TheBlaze:
“As law enforcement officials, IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agents are equipped similarly to other federal, state and local law enforcement organizations. Special Agents receive training on the appropriate and safe use of assigned weapons. IRS Criminal Investigation has internal controls and oversight in place to ensure all law enforcement tools, including weapons are used appropriately. To learn more about IRS Criminal Investigation’s mission see link. http://www.irs.gov/uac/Criminal-Investigation-(CI)-At-a-Glance.”
While the IRS response acknowledges that agents receive weapons training, it doesn’t specifically answer any of the questions TheBlaze asked:
- Do IRS agents, in fact, train with [AR-15s]?
- If so, in what capacity do these agents work at the IRS?
- How long have these agents been training with such weapons?
- What purpose is there for IRS agents to train with such weapons, with that level of firepower?
- Have these IRS agents ever used these weapons in the line of duty? If so, what were the circumstances?
Within the employment opportunities section of the IRS web site, under a Law Enforcement heading, we’ve found this information regarding Special Agent Training:
What Training is Required to Become a Criminal Investigation (CI) Special Agent?
Special Agent candidates are required to attend a comprehensive training program at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia. Training begins with an orientation program sponsored by the National Criminal Investigation Training Academy. Students then attend a nine-week Criminal Investigation Training Program (CITP) covering basic federal criminal investigation techniques, including federal criminal law, courtroom procedures, enforcement operations, interviewing and firearms training common to all federal law enforcement agents.
While Rep. Duncan hasn’t yet contacted TheBlaze, his communications office added a few details:
- The DHS site where Duncan observed IRS agents training with AR-15s was, in fact, a FLETC site (but in Cheltenham, Md., not Glynco, Ga.).
- He observed agents using weapons with 30-round clips.
- He was told they were IRS agents during his tour of the facility.
- Duncan is moving to understand why IRS agents need that level of firepower, as well as why agencies (such as the FBI) “better suited” for this kind of law enforcement aren’t being used instead.