Internal Revenue Service by Saturnism is licensed under Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA 2.0)

IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel still will not directly state to congress the quantity of firearms and ammunition in IRS possession. The latest example of this came during Werfel’s testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee on Feb. 15.

A couple thousand IRS agents carry firearms in the course of their assigned field work. Several audits from the IRS inspector general have found an appalling firearms safety record: Accidental discharges; not keeping up with the required training; not surrendering guns when required; discharges causing damage to individuals and property.

Tragically in August 2023, an Arizona-based IRS agent was accidentally shot and killed during a training exercise. By all accounts, the agent was a good man and solid professional. The incident shows IRS gun safety is an ongoing concern that requires rigorous oversight.

The IRS under the Biden administration received a large infusion of taxpayer money, including funds to hire more armed agents.

It is unclear why Werfel will not directly state the gun numbers. Various lawmakers in the House and Senate have been asking the question since the start of Werfel’s tenure.

During the Feb. 15 hearing, Congressman Jodey Arrington (R-Texas) asked Werfel again.

Arrington noted he had sent a letter to Werfel requesting the numbers. Arrington noted that Werfel replied but instead of simply and directly providing the numbers, Werfel referenced a New York Post article.

Why does Werfel refuse to directly state the number of guns? He knows the information. Why not say it?

Even though Republican members of congress were being stonewalled by the IRS, the IRS had no problem directly giving gun and ammo information to reporters at the paywalled professional tax journal Tax Notes.

Members of the House and Senate waited by their mailboxes for a direct reply from Werfel. Meanwhile the information was directly and “promptly” provided to the journalists.

Tax Notes reporters Jonathan Curry and Doug Sword wrote:

When asked for an update on IRS weaponry, Criminal Investigation division spokeswoman Carissa Cutrell promptly shared with Tax Notes that the agency has about 4,200 pistols, shotguns, and rifles and 6 million rounds of ammunition for those weapons.

The article noted that the six million figure “represents a 21 percent increase in its stash of ammunition.”

Reporters Curry and Sword wrote that the gun and ammo data was current as of Nov. 28, 2023, specifically: “4,229 firearms — 3,180 pistols, 641 rifles, and 408 shotguns — and roughly 6 million rounds of ammo.”

The report noted the IRS also has “a stockpile of oleoresin capsicum, better known as pepper spray.”

In his confirmation hearings the Biden-appointed Werfel had promised to be open and forthcoming in his dealings with congress. This has not been achieved.

The official IRS watchdog — the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) — on numerous occasions has audited IRS firearms management and found several areas of negligence.

TIGTA said:

“Considering the gravity of carrying and using a firearm, there should be no margin for error in the firearms training and certification program. By not having effective procedures to ensure special agents are qualified to carry and use a firearm when needed, [IRS Criminal Investigation] CI risks endangering other special agents and the public. In addition, the IRS could be held liable for injuries or damage resulting from special agents using a firearm who have not met the required qualifications.”

President Biden and congressional Democrats increased the size and power of the IRS, with no new taxpayer protections.

A review of the IRS job board in April 2023 showed the IRS was seeking to hire armed agents in all 50 states.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) have proposed legislation to move the firearm function out of the IRS.

The Feb. 15, 2024 Werfel – Arrington exchange is here and below:


“So I’m sure you have been briefed about the question I have, which is the question I asked you a year ago. You got a lot to keep up with. You did respond in a letter. I referenced in our conversation, a New York Post article that talked about the number of firearms and munitions that you all have at the IRS and the number of armed agents.

And it went through specific numbers, 3,832, handguns, 600 shotguns, 439 rifles, 15 fully automatic weapons. So it was very detailed. I don’t know where they got their information, and I think an appropriate oversight role for as a check and balance, and for the purpose of transparency to the taxpayers and to the people that we report to in the people’s House, that they ought to have some confirmation of whether or not those numbers are right or if they’re different.

You responded with a letter and said the inventory of guns and ammunition is consistent with other law enforcement agencies. I find that an inadequate response. I think if the American people who we all work for ask as a check and as a point of accountability on agencies with tremendous power and with tremendous power comes, I think great responsibility and oversight and accountability, they deserve a specific answer, what’s in the inventory, how many armed IRS agents?

I’m not suggesting that there might not be some level of appropriateness, but just saying we keep up with the same standards, the same standards of who, the FBI, the ATF, the Border Patrol. So I’m going to ask you again, do you have the specifics of firearms, the number of armed IRS agents and the inventory of munitions?

I think the American people ought to know that and then we can discuss why you have it and why they exist and for what purpose, and again, there may be an appropriate need.


Yeah. I would love to answer this question. First of all, I do recall the letter. I believe the letter that we sent you had a link to a public report that has the information you requested. If it did not, then we will get you that public link. I added the point that it was consistent with other law enforcement after providing the data.

Why not just answer the question? Are the American people supposed to sift through congressional committee reports to find an indirect answer from a news report?