The Internal Revenue Service is under close scrutiny after Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina took a tour through the IRS training grounds. Duncan tweeted that he saw IRS personnel training with AR-15s — a high-powered assault rifle that would look more at home on a battlefield than in the hands of agents who collect taxes.
This just adds more fuel to the fire. The IRS is already under the microscope for allegedly targeting conservative organizations, and the DHS caught some flak for what some people considered to be excessive ammunition purchases.
“I think Americans raise eyebrows when you tell that IRS agents are training with a type of weapon that has stand-off capability," Duncan said. "It’s not like they’re carrying a sidearm and they knock on someone’s door and say, ‘You’re evading your taxes.’”
The IRS does have an enforcement branch, but critics argue that AR-15s are far too lethal for the AR-15. The IRS has brushed off the concerns, saying, “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.”
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It is a reasonable argument. Should the IRS have weaker weapons than what the FBI or the ATF has just because taxes are not as interesting as serial killers and drugs? It was tax evasion that ultimately put Al Capone behind bars for 11 years. Perhaps assault rifles in the hands of IRS officials is not so outlandish after all.
Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas was quick to poke fun at the IRS. He tweeted on Thursday, “You don't need to be an IRS agent to get your own Bushmaster AR-15. I'm giving one away for FREE on July 4.”
What are your thoughts? Is it perfectly acceptable for the IRS to have high-powered rifles because it is a government enforcement agency, or are AR-15s far too powerful for tax collectors?