A Utah Republican and member of the House Appropriations Committee wants to cut funding for “paramilitary units” like the heavily armed squads that descended on Nevada during the standoff at the Bundy Ranch in mid-April.
In a speech on the House floor Tuesday, freshman Rep. Chris Stewart said regulatory agencies like the Bureau of Land Management and the Internal Revenue Service have no need for their own heavily armed enforcement squads, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
“There are lots of people who are really concerned when the BLM shows up with its own SWAT team,” Stewart said. “They’re regulatory agencies. They’re not paramilitary units, and I think that concerns a lot of us.”
One of those concerned is Sen. Rand Paul, the Kentucky libertarian who is considering a run for the GOP presidential nomination.
During the Bundy standoff, while scenes of federal agents in body armor were playing on national television in what was essentially a billing dispute, Paul told a Louisville, Ky., radio station the situation is getting out of hand.
“The federal government shouldn’t violate the law, nor should we have 48 federal agencies carrying weapons and having SWAT teams,” Paul said.
In his speech Tuesday, Stewart, who proudly touts his credentials with the American Conservative Union, said he was shocked at the amount of firepower the federal government brought to bear in the Bundy affair, including snipers monitoring the ranch. He said agencies like the BLM should rely on local police forces to enforce the law.
“They should do what anyone else would do,” Stewart said. “Call the local sheriff, who has the capability to intervene in situations like that.”
H/T: Washington Times
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