WASHINGTON, May 21, 2014 — The last decade has seen increasing reports on the arming of federal agencies, the militarization of local police forces, and the alleged hording of ammunition by government agencies. The Bundy ranch standoff highlighted the levels that the government is willing to go to enforce regulations and intimidate the public.
Other reports claim that stories about the Department of Homeland Security buying over a billion rounds of ammunition are false, or that the contract was to be spread over several years. Public concern with the issue has died down.
But the story is back. It seems that the federal government is not finished buying ammunition.
In at least three separate posts to the Federal Business Opportunities website, the federal government has placed bid solicitations for over 270 million rounds of ammunition over the next five years.
The smallest volume bid, posted by the Department of Justice, is for 46,000 rounds of .223, 4,750 rounds of 12 gauge buckshot, and 95,000 rounds of 9mm.
The next highest volume bid, posted by the Department of Homeland Security, is for 4.8 million rounds of .357 ammunition a year, with 24 million rounds total in the contract.
The highest volume bid is again posted by the Department of Homeland Security, for 50 million rounds of Smith and Wesson .40cal ammunition, for a total of 250 million rounds over duration of the contract.
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That is over 270 million rounds of ammunition.
These amounts are absurd. DHS has roughly 160,000 armed agents, including the Coast Guard. At the rate the DHS is purchasing ammunition, over the next five years they will have roughly 1,600 rounds of ammunition per armed agent. This does not include the millions of rounds already purchased under previous contracts over the last few years. The exact ammunition stockpile of the DHS is unknown.
These bid solicitations come at a time when the United States is attempting recovery. Tensions between the government and the people are high, the majority of Americans believe the government is too big, and that it oversteps its power.
At the same time, the government is increasing its size, they are training new agents, they are ordering more guns, and they are buying more ammunition.
Violent crime is down in the United States, and has been going down for years. Expanding the Department of Homeland Security in terms of agents and assets seems to be unnecessary in the face of a safer America.
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We are trying to recover from economic turmoil; the recession hit many people hard. The government is in massive debt, they are cutting benefits to the military, they have cancelled White House tours, and they are threatening to shut down roads if certain funds are not rejuvenated. Yet the government sees no problem in spending millions on ammunition that it does not need, for agents it does not need.
What does the Department of Homeland Security do? They keep us safe, and they assist in hunting down terrorists. But according to the White House, al-Qaeda is on the run and radical Islamists are not a threat, so this acquisition seems excessive.
The DHS already has many millions of rounds stockpiled. Just as the government tells civilians all the time that they do not “need” a 30-round magazine, the government does not “need” 200 million rounds of .40cal ammunition, especially when we apparently don’t have money to fix roads or fund Social Security, or continue to provide the promised benefits to our veterans. It is also possible that they are attempting to create another ammunition shortage. The .357 and .40 rounds are very popular for self-defense, so that’s plausible.
This will not be the last of these purchases; no doubt the DHS will claim that they need these rounds for training purposes, they will explain that they really do need this ammunition because they train year-round, and they will explain that everything is alright, and there is nothing to see here.
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