WASHINGTON May 6, 2014 — One of the fundamental tenants of the gun-control debate is that civilians don’t need “assault” rifles. It suggests that for some reason, rights guaranteed by the Constitution and affirmed by the Supreme Court are based on “need.”
You, a civilian, do not “need” a thirty round magazine.
You, a civilian, do not “need” and AR-15.
This is something that gun-rights advocates hear constantly. Their “need” or their supposed “purpose” in owning semi-automatic rifles are constantly questioned by those who believe that only the government should have the right to own such weapons and devices.
Well one Congressman is taking a different approach to the idea of need, and weapons in today’s society and culture.
Instead of asking the people why they need an AR-15, or an AK-47, one particular politician is asking our governments armed agencies some very interesting questions.
And why do you “need” so many rounds of ammunition, and military equipment?
Why do you “need” so many armed agents when your primary purpose is not law enforcement?
Why do you “need” so many tactical response teams?
That is what Utah Republican Chris Stewart is asking. While limited government supporters and gun rights advocates are constantly being questioned about their need for certain kinds of firearms ownership, the Congressman from Utah is questioning the need for “paramilitary” units in our nations regulatory and law enforcement agencies.
This sentiment of questioning the governments need for so many tactical response teams comes in the wake of the overwhelming government response to the Cliven Bundy ranch standoff, where heavily armed and armored agents of the Bureau of Land Management surrounded the house of the Nevada rancher over contested unpaid grazing fees. Of course their presence and potential use of force was checked by hundreds of armed militia members from around the country who showed up to support Mr. Bundy.
But the show of force of the BLM hit a nerve in the system of the American psyche. We watched as agents armed similarly to combat infantrymen laid siege to the ranch of a man whose crime was tantamount to an unpaid parking ticket. An armed response in the scope and breadth that was delivered was completely unnecessary, and Chris Stewart wants to make sure that things like this don’t happen again.
Representative Stewart wants to cut the funding, through the House Appropriations Committee, for “paramilitary” units used by agencies with no business having them.
This is the point where we the people need to start telling they the government what they need, and not allowing them to tell us what we need.
Stewart’s main concern over these armed agencies is that “They’re regulatory agencies; they’re not paramilitary units, and I think that concerns a lot of us.” And he is right. The Federal government does not need forty eight agencies with armed officers and SWAT teams to carry out regulatory functions and enforce their laws. That is what local law enforcement is for, and if you have not been following the rise of the militarization of the police, chances are your local sheriff’s office is packing a SWAT team.
The rise of armed federal agencies should be a situation Americans should keep their eyes on, but the rise of federal agencies supporting SWAT teams is one which should alarm anyone concerned about the overreach of government power. Americans have been concerned for years that the government is growing too strong, and many believe that it already is.
But this is the first time that people in government have not only agreed with the people, but who have expressed specific intent and actions to remedy the problem. Before we have heard Republicans pining to the limited government crowd that the government is too strong, and they raise concerns over the number of armed agencies, but they don’t do anything about it. With Rep. Stewart actively seeking to cut funding to SWAT teams under certain federal agencies represents a real tipping point in the struggle between Conservative thought and Progressive thought in terms of the size and capability of the federal government.
The American gun owners and limited government supporters have been harangued for years with notions that they don’t need a semi-automatic rifle, that the government will protect them from what may come.
But this is one of the first times that someone within the government has identified the armed agencies of the federal government as one of those threats. The American government exists to provide the people with liberty, not to intimidate them into submission and coerced compliance. If this effort to cut federal funding for unnecessary armed gains traction, and we see a gradual disarmament of regulatory agencies without the need to SWAT teams, it will be a serious win for limited government supporters and those who wish to see the curtailing of government power, which is what the Constitution was set in place to do.
What a novel idea, the government protecting the people from the government.
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