September 17 2013
Vicki E. Alger
Before all the facts were even out about yesterday’s tragic Navy Yard rampage, which left at least 12 people dead, CNN’s David Frum had concluded in the Daily Beast that we can’t wait to talk about gun control.
He admits that most gun fatalities are not the result of attacks by the mentally disturbed. And never mind that Washington, D.C., is supposed to be a gun-free zone. The upshot is that it’s high-time to disarm citizens—but not the federal government.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ latest biennial Census of Federal Law Enforcement Officers (FLEO) published in 2012, federal agencies and departments are armed to the teeth:
…federal agencies employed approximately 120,000 full-time law enforcement officers who were authorized to make arrests and carry firearms in the United States. This was the equivalent of 40 officers per 100,000 residents. The number of federal officers in the United States increased by about 15,000, or 14%, between 2004 and 2008 (p. 1).
The BJS Census excludes officers of the U.S. Armed Forces, as well as classified CIA employees and TSA air marshals.
The fact that the FBI, Customs, or Capitol Police have armed federal agents is no real shocker. Other agencies that employ personnel with arrest and firearm authority are real head-scratchers, though, including the EPA, with 202 full-time officers (p. 5).
We’ll recall last month the EPA dispatched armed officers to a gold mine in Alaska to check on a Clean Water Act pollution permit.
Joining the EPA were the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Coast Guard, the National Oceanic and the Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Park Service—agencies, which combined, employ more than 2,600 armed agents with the authority to arrest (excluding the Coast Guard).
Fewer guns do not mean fewer fatalities, as research has shown. What matters is that law-abiding citizens have every Constitutional right to own them. Disarming us does nothing to prevent the mentally ill or criminally minded from murdering others.
Disarming citizens also makes it easier for heavily armed government officials to take our liberties—and our lives—away.