Guns resized

Seven House Republicans, led by Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah), have introduced legislation that would bar most federal agencies from purchasing certain firearms and developing their own law enforcement divisions.  

The Regulatory Agency De-militarization (RAD) Act (H.R. 4164) would bar most federal agencies, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, from purchasing machine guns, grenades and similar types of weaponry. It would also repeal arrest and firearm authority granted to the Offices of Inspector General in federal agencies in the 2002 Homeland Security Act.

“I understand that federal agents must be capable of protecting themselves, but what we have observed goes far beyond providing necessary protection,” Stewart said in a statement. “Not only is it overkill, but having these highly-armed units within dozens of agencies is duplicative, costly, heavy handed, dangerous and destroys any sense of trust between citizens and the federal government.” 

Republican Reps. Mark Amodei (Nev.), Kevin Cramer (N.D.), Jeff Duncan (S.C.), Virginia Foxx (N.C.), Sam Graves (Mo.) and Reid Ribble (Wis.) co-sponsored the legislation. 

Stewart introduced his legislation Dec. 2, the same day two armed gunmen killed 14 and injured 17 during a shooting in San Bernardino, Calif.  

Arose During Keystone Debate Earlier This Year.

Questions about the role of armed employees of the EPA arose earlier this year during broad debate over a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) offered an amendment—ultimately never considered—that would have barred EPA employees from being armed.  
“EPA special agents, like any law enforcement official, carry firearms as part of their assigned equipment,” an EPA spokeswoman said at the time in response to the amendment. “Their work involves the potential for confrontation, and to remove this basic law enforcement tool from the hands of EPA agents could put the safety of the officers--and the public--at risk.”