Unusual gun order headed to Chicago

March 11, 2010 6:12:45 PM PST
A week from Monday, a shipment of combat-ready shotguns is due to arrive in Chicago, destined for what would seem to be an unlikely recipient: the United States Department of Education.

ABC7 investigative reporter Chuck Goudie has learned the details of an unusual gun order.

On Monday, the US Department of Education began soliciting bids, not for books or laptops, but for guns, Remington shotguns decked out with all the combat trimmings, such as short barrels for concealment and modified sights.

Why would the department of education need guns? That is what the I-Team wanted to know.

The guns are to arrive in Chicago west of the Loop on Monday, March 22, in the 14th floor offices of the US Department of Education inspector general.

According to the bid solicitation, the department is purchasing 27 Remington Model 870 pump-action shotguns with 14-inch modified choke barrels. They are custom-made for law enforcement and have shorter barrels than required for purchase by private citizens.

The Remington shotgun being purchased by the education department is intended to replace an older, malfunctioning arsenal, according to officials, and would have to be compatible with existing combat armor.

The I-Team called US Education Secretary Arne Duncan Thursday afternoon to find out why his inspector general's office requires guns at all. Duncan, who previously ran the Chicago Public Schools, referred questions to the inspector general's office.

In an e-mail, a spokesperson told the I-Team that their special agents work waste and fraud cases involving education funds and programs, and they have full law enforcement authority and training, and they sometimes conduct search warrants and make arrests.

The shotguns are expected to arrive at the loading dock in 10 days and are being shipped to Chicago because this is where the education department's firearm's inventory manager is located.

And so, as the anticipated $35,000 gun purchase is in the federal pipeline, the I-team asked federal officials when the last time was that an education department inspector general employee actually fired a weapon in the line of duty. A spokesperson said, "in our history, we have been fortunate that our agents have *not* had to discharge their firearms in the line of duty."

She added, "please know that in the course of our work, we have arrested individuals with violent criminal histories, including violence against law enforcement officers."