Back in 2010, the Office of  Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Education purchased 27 new Remington Brand Model 870 police 12-gauge shotguns. Why?

The short answer is to replace their old guns. The longer answer is that the Office of Inspector General is the law enforcement arm of the department and sometimes, officials say, it conducts high-risk investigations and makes arrests of people with criminal backgrounds. Catherine Grant, spokesperson for the Office of Inspector General, replied to a question about what the guns have been used for with an email that said:

We conduct criminal investigations and operate with full statutory law enforcement authority. This includes making arrests and executing search warrants.  Some of the cases we work involve subjects with significant criminal histories to include murder or violence against law enforcement officers, which are considered high-risk law enforcement activities.  In such cases, these firearms are deployed.

She did not go into further detail, but here you can find details of cases that the office has handled in recent years. One example is a case in which armed special agents of the department’s Office of Inspector General executed a search warrant at a home in Stockton, Calif., on June 7, 2011. A statement issued at the time by the Office said that the raid was conducted  to help enforce “waste, fraud, abuse, and other criminal activity involving Federal education funds, programs, and operations.”

Grant said the office has not bought any more guns since the 2010 purchases.