4:23 PM EDT Jun 12, 2013
GREENVILLE, S.C. —South Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District representative wants to know why he saw IRS agents training with powerful, semi-automatic rifles.
Republican Jeff Duncan said he made the discovery at a Maryland Federal Law Enforcement Training Center on May 23.
The congressman was touring the facility with Homeland Security officials as part of his investigation into the amount of ammunition purchases the agency conducts.
Duncan told News 4’s Sean Muserallo he saw about eight or nine shooters identified to him as IRS agents practicing at an indoor 100-yard range.
“While we were sitting there,” said Duncan, “the gentleman told them to sling their weapons and load a 30-round magazine into the AR-15s they were training with.”
Duncan said he was concerned about what he saw.
“Why do IRS law enforcement agents need standoff capability that you would have with a long rifle or with a weapon similar to an AR-15? They’re generally investigating tax evasion, fraud and money laundering. We think of the IRS as an audit agency more than doing the type of law enforcement where they have to use an AR-15.”
Duncan said the IRS has the resources of the federal government, including the FBI, if they come into a situation where they feel like they need a SWAT team.
According to IRS spokesman Mark Green out of the agency’s Atlanta field office, for security reasons, the IRS does not discuss their firearms training operations.
He did confirm agents will train at the FLETC in Maryland.
“The IRS uses standard firearms training common to all federal law enforcement agencies,” said Green.
According to an IRS website, Criminal Investigation (CI) is the law enforcement branch of the IRS. Special agents combine law enforcement and accounting skills to investigate financial crimes. They are duly sworn agents trained to “follow the money.”
The website states: “Our mission is to serve the American public by investigating potential criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Code, and related financial crimes, in a manner that fosters confidence in the tax system and compliance with the law. “
Elected in 2010, Duncan currently sits on three House committees including the Homeland Security Committee. He is the Chairman of the Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee.
As for bringing IRS officials to a committee hearing, Duncan said, “That’s a possibility.”
Duncan is an avid hunter and lifetime member of the NRA. In the South Carolina House, he has fought against gun control. Duncan has a 100 percent rating from the Nation Rifle Association.