Just about everyone in the United States—and maybe most of the Western World— has heard about the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) raid on former President Trump’s personal residence, Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Florida. While many across legacy and social media have taken this as an opportunity to shout their usual partisan rhetoric, one thing is readily apparent—unchecked federal agencies, and not just the FBI, are being weaponized against Americans at an alarming rate.
On August 8, 2022, the FBI raided former-President Trump’s home, purportedly to recover certain classified files, or out of concern for how Trump was storing some classified files, or to corroborate which classified files Trump had in his possession. One thing we do know is that the U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland “personally approved the decision to seek a warrant.”
In modern history, no former president has been raided by an executive branch agency. To make matters worse, the agency is controlled by the opposing party, maybe the very individual Trump would be running against. And the warrant was approved by Merrick Garland, who would almost certainly be sitting on the Supreme Court, but for Trump’s election in 2016.
The lack of transparency and even the appearance of abuse here is highly problematic. But to be clear, this isn’t just a problem with the FBI, or even this particular administration. This is what happens when the federal government grows unchecked, with near unlimited authority, and claims the power to tread upon every person’s life for any reason what-so-ever.
Let’s start with the FBI. Beyond just the Bureau’s raid on Mar-a-Lago, the FBI doesn’t exactly have a good track record. Who could forget when U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland ordered the FBI to investigate parents at school board meetings across the country because they were being labeled as a threat for trying to protect their children. Or when the FBI seemingly repeatedly lied to the ever-secretive surveillance court in order to illegally conduct electronic surveillance. There is also Waco and Ruby Ridge, but you can’t talk about those incidents without the FBI now labeling you potential Militia Violent Extremist.
Beyond just the FBI, recently we learned that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) received funding to add 87,000 additional agents to its ranks, which will be armed with the IRS’s expansive arsenal and must be willing to “carry a firearm, and be willing to use deadly force, if necessary.” This is the same IRS, mind you, that admitted to targeting conservative organizations using “heightened scrutiny and inordinate delay.” And while the IRS says that it will “absolutely not” target “small businesses or middle-income Americans,” it’s pretty telling the IRS feels it necessary to even say as much.
Then there is everyone’s favorite federal agency from the past two and a half years, the Center for Disease Control (CDC). At this point, it almost seems silly to recount the numerous guidance documents and regulations that the CDC has issued since the start of the pandemic that completely upended the lives of millions of supposedly free people, flip flopping on its position the whole time. This all culminated into the CDC changing its guidance just this week to drop most quarantine recommendations, to recommend ending testing on non-symptomatic people, and to treat vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals the same.
Last, and possibly worse, we have the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the agency that is currently in the process of trying to re-define the word “firearm” through an agency rulemaking. This isn’t Congress passing a new law. This is a federal agency changing its “interpretation” of federal law in order to expand its power. The agency did the same thing in 2018 when it said that a bump stock attached to a semi-automatic firearm magically converts the firearm into a machinegun—even though it plainly doesn’t meet the definition of a machinegun established by Congress. And don’t forget, if you violate one of the ATF’s vague and nonsensical regulations (not laws) you can be charged with a felony and spend up to 5 years in prison—per offense.
Let’s be perfectly clear, the FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago is hugely problematic. Even if it were justified, the agency’s handling of the scenario exposes the severe lack of trust federal agencies have rightfully earned for themselves over the past half-century (or more). We the People have allowed the federal government too much control. When the FBI can conduct a surprise raid on a political opponent, when the IRS can employ and arm tens of thousands of tax-agents willing to use deadly force, when the CDC can stop you from earning a living, and when the ATF can dictate how you get to protect yourself, we have a government that has run off the tracks.
It’s time to end federal agency overreach. It’s time to stop allowing bureaucrats to run our lives unchecked. The silver-lining from the Mar-a-Lago search is not just a great awakening to federal agency encroachment, but a seeming willingness to actually do something about it, to remove the power these agencies have hoarded for themselves to dangle over everyday Americans. And anyone who isn’t willing to step up to that challenge doesn’t deserve to be a representative of We the People.
Cody J. Wisniewski (@TheWizardofLawz) is a Senior Attorney for Constitutional Litigation with Firearms Policy Coalition. His work has appeared in the Washington Times, the Washington Examiner, National Review, Daily Wire, and more. He primarily focuses on Second Amendment issues but is happy so long as he is reminding the government of its enumerated powers and constitutional limitations.
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.