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Fact Check: Is the IRS Buying Ammunition and Guns?

Robin Hill-Gray - Author
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Jun. 23 2022, Published 1:30 p.m. ET

As 2022 has trudged along, one topic that has remained consistent throughout the news is guns. More specifically, gun control. However, the subject of guns and ammunition has been reinvigorated after people began to take notice of the IRS purchasing ammunition and various guns. With such large amounts of purchases over the years, people are wondering why the IRS even needs guns.

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Special agents with the IRS can carry firearms as granted by the United States Code Title 26, Section 7608. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2016 that the IRS had 2,316 special agents (the number has likely grown) and spent an estimated $5,000 on each agent for weapons and ammunition.

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The IRS has purchased guns and ammunition in the past.

This isn't the first time the IRS has been associated with buying loads of ammunition. In 2019, Forbes reported that the IRS had hoards of ammunition and guns. By the end of 2017, the IRS already had around 4,487 guns and 5,062,006 rounds of ammunition. It was reported that the guns in IRS possession weren't for civilians. According to reports, many of the guns are machine guns. As it stands, only the Criminal Investigation Division in the IRS actually gets to carry.

Safety-wise, a report from CNS News claimed that between 2009 and 2011, IRS special agents accidentally fired their weapons 11 times and three of those cases "may have resulted in property damage or personal injury." CNS also revealed an audit of IRS agents claimed that agents fired their weapons accidentally and more often than intentionally in the field. Also, it said that remedial training to negligent agents isn't always given.

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Fact check: Rep. Matt Gaetz says the IRS is hoarding guns and ammo.

In an interview with Fox News, Florida Representative Matt Gaetz said, "In 2022 alone, the IRS has spent around $725,000 on ammunition. So, here's the Biden plan: Disarm Americans, open the border, empty the prisons — but rest assured, they'll still collect your taxes, and they need $725,000 worth of ammunition apparently, to get the job done." According to Fox News, within the last 10 years, the IRS stocked up with $11 million of ammunition.

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Gaetz is trying to put a moratorium on the IRS and their ammunition purchases. So, is the IRS buying weapons? Yes, they have in the past as well. Is the IRS buying guns? Yes, they have done that in the past too. So, it isn't unheard of for the IRS to be purchasing weapons given that special agents are allowed to carry them.

However, the real concern is whether or not the IRS is stockpiling guns and ammunition and whether or not this is part of a grander scheme to hoard weapons and get them away from Americans amid the recent mass shootings and desperate pleas and protests for gun control. Gaetz is right to a degree, the IRS does have guns and ammunition. Whether or not they are hoarding for nefarious purposes, remains unclear. Many people are puzzled as to why the IRS would need so many weapons.

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