B. Christopher Agee — April 30, 2014
His bill could end the BLM as we know it.
The recent standoff between federal Bureau of Land Management agents and protesters at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada exposed a reality many Americans have seen coming for decades. Federal agencies are becoming more tyrannical as they rely on their own armed officers instead of, as our Constitution mandates, allowing local and state authorities to handle law enforcement.
While many politicians have spoken out against this creeping authoritarianism, at least one elected official is advancing a plan to combat it. House Appropriations Committee member Chris Stewart recently announced he wants to see funding for a myriad of agencies with their own “paramilitary” forces.
“There are lots of people who are really concerned when the BLM shows up with its own SWAT team,” he said this week.
The Utah representative explained that these federal agencies were established for regulatory purposes only and have systematically been gravitating toward enforcement.
Stewart said his position should not be construed as support of the Bundy family, but as concern regarding how the situation was handled by the BLM.
“They should do what anyone else would do,” he explained. “Call the local sheriff, who has the capability to intervene in situations like that.”
His concerns have been echoed by a number of other, mostly Republican, legislators. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, for example, complained that there are now “48 federal agencies carrying weapons and having SWAT teams.”
If Stewart gets his wish, the spending cuts would force these agencies to defer to local authorities when a situation like the Bundy Ranch dispute arises.
BLM spokesperson Jessica Kershaw, however, insists the bureau only has a limited number of armed officers and already depends on municipal police, sheriffs, and other authorities.
“Partnerships and coordination with local law enforcement are a key part of the equation,” she said, emphasizing the “need to leverage limited resources.”