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Curmudgeon's Corner

cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner

Government Stockpiling Ammunition?

U.S., Political, Quality of Life

There have been news reports concerning government agencies being on a ‘buying binge’ for ammunition used in various caliber pistols.  This has created a ‘buzz’ in some circles as to what this ammunition is to be used for, and in some cases raising the question of whether or not this is a calculated effort by government to limit the amount of ammunition available to citizens.

Among the governmental departments involved was the Social Security Administration (SSA), and that seemed a little out of whack to me at first.  Investigation indicates that the SSA has 295 special agents who are armed.  They combat fraud and carry given their exposure to dangerous situations.  The SSA request for bids was for 174,000 rounds of .357 hollow point ammunition.

This works out to nearly 672 rounds per person, and that seemed high.  But, each of the 295 special agents is required to train, accomplish mandatory quarterly qualification shooting and have sufficient ammunition available for duty use.  When viewed in that context, the number of rounds doesn’t seem extraordinary.  The district office of the SSA in Milwaukee, for example, would receive 2,000 rounds.

Hollow point ammunition is the round of choice when the intended use is against a human target.  The round accomplishes the greatest degree of damage without the danger of the round passing through the target and into others who might be in the immediate area.  That sounds nasty, and it is, but it is the reality of the world in which special agents and all law enforcement officers live.

Given the circumstances we have around us at this point, some people wonder if these purchases are timed to prevent the general population from buying ammunition.  I went to the NRA’s website thinking they would have a posting.  The NRA-ILA (NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action) had a posting dated August 17th titled Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Buy Ammunition.  The first two paragraphs of that posting are:

You may recently have seen some in the Internet rumor mill feverishly repeating the obvious truth above, in an effort to stir up fear about recent acquisitions of ammunition by the Department of Homeland Security and a number of smaller agencies.  The mildest writers have questioned why seemingly mundane agencies would need ammunition at all; more incendiary authors suggest that these government agencies are preparing for a war with the American people.

Much of the concern stems from a lack of understanding of the law enforcement functions carried by officers in small federal agencies.  These agents have the power to make arrests and execute warrants, just like their better-known counterparts at agencies like the FBI.”

The NRA-ILA site continued with information received from Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), a second amendment defender, in a press release.  That press release follows:

“If you take the number of agencies that will be using this ammunition – CBP, Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, ICE, the U.S. Secret Service, Transportation Security Administration, the DHS police force, and all the guards that protect various buildings these agencies are housed in, and spread that out over5 years, you start to see that 450 million rounds really isn’t that large of an order.  Especially considering it is used for training purposes like firing range and live fire exercises, on-the-job use (though that is very limited), and to shore up their supplies.  In fact, there are 65,000 – 70,000 law enforcement personnel at DHS who would be covered under this…ammunition contract.  If DHS were to purchase all 450 million rounds over 5 years, then that would equate to only about 1,384 rounds of ammo per year per law enforcement (officer)…assuming the lower estimate of only 65,000 law enforcement personnel at DHS.  Considering these agents go through training exercises several times per year, this is not a lot of ammunition.”

“Perhaps most strangely, some have cited the purchase of hollow-point ammunition as evidence of the federal government’s evil motives.  Hollow-points are the defensive ammunition of choice for federal, state and local law enforcement officers across the country, just as they are for private citizens.”

“As most gun owners will agree, skepticism of government is healthy.  But today, there are more than enough actual threats to the Second Amendment to keep gun owners busy.  With two key Supreme Court decisions hanging by a one-vote margin, the Justice department deeply involved in a cover-up of a disastrous Mexican gun smuggling operation, and President Obama touting a gun ban on popular semi-automatic firearms, there is no need to invent additional threats to our rights.”

If the NRA feels this way, I would have to agree there is nothing beyond normal usage involved even though the purchase is a huge number of rounds from my simple perspective.  Although serving on an Army pistol team many years ago, we routinely fired at least 75 to 100 rounds every day on the firing range, and sometimes 200 or more.

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