Friday Digest — The Truth About Government Ammo Purchases

Friday Digest — The Truth About Government Ammo Purchases

The last few months have seen troubling news of massive government purchases of ammunition. Agencies from the Social Security Administration to the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Homeland Security have purchased millions of rounds. But is the whole thing more hype than substance?

Ever since Barack Obama was first elected in 2008, he has been selling guns and ammunition at a faster clip than any gun salesman could hope for. And since his re-election, citizens have been faced with severe shortages of both. This can only be exacerbated by large government purchases. The Social Security Administration (SSA), for example, purchased 174,000 rounds and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) bought 320,000 rounds. More understandable in purpose but also perhaps more staggering in scale, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) put in a request for 450 million rounds, while the FBI intends to purchase 100 million.

The headlines are ominous, but some of the hype can be put in perspective by doing a little math. National Review’s Charles C. W. Cooke does just that. The SSA’s request for 174,000 rounds amounts to just 590 rounds for each of its 295 inspector general agents “who investigate Social Security fraud and other crimes.” Some of us might go through 590 rounds in an afternoon at the range. As for the USDA, 320,000 is enough to provide the same number of rounds for 542 agents, and, through the Forest Service, those agents have an area the size of Pakistan to cover.

When it comes to the bigger orders, Cooke writes, “The FBI and DHS’s apparently vast orders are deceptively presented by the conspiracy theorists. It is true that in 2011, the FBI ordered up to 100 million bullets for its 13,913 special agents (which works out to 7,187 per agent). And, yes, the Department of Homeland Security — a composite department that oversees USCIS, Customs and Border Protection, FEMA, ICE, the TSA, the Coast Guard, the Secret Service, and the National Protection Directorate — placed a request for up to 450 million rounds for its 65,000 armed personnel (which works out to 6,923 per agent). But in the real world, ammunition is not divided up and handed out on such a basis. What is bought is stockpiled and then allocated on the basis of need. The DHS’s order is expected to last for at least five years, and it was placed up front primarily as a cost-saving measure.” Indeed, DHS is not even bound to buy that much; they merely have a tab on which to order more rounds as needed.

That certainly doesn’t mean there aren’t questions or that we should simply shrug and look the other way. For starters, the Department of Education recently placed an order for “27 Remington Brand Model 870 police 12-gauge shotguns.” This might lead any reasonable person to ask, as Cooke does, “Whether it is in possession of one bullet or 1 million bullets, should the federal Department of Education be armed in the first place? If so, why?” We would add, should there even be a Department of Education? But that’s a topic for another day. The DoE has been known to botch raids when it was the wrong enforcement vehicle from the start.

The same questions could be asked of any number of bureaucracies. Does the Social Security Administration really need an armed enforcement division? We’ve known some unruly seniors in our day, but that seems to be overkill.

Then there’s the information that’s just plain false. Reports have been circulating that DHS has procured 2,717 Mine Resistant Armor Protected (MRAP) vehicles. The truth is, DHS has had retrofitted MRAPs since 2008, and now has 16 of them for serving “high-risk warrants.” The figure of 2,717 comes from a delivery to the Marine Corps, not DHS. None of that, however, takes away from the problem that these are more properly military vehicles for war zones, not law enforcement tools. The militarization of law enforcement is undeniably troublesome. Furthermore, DHS is the same bureaucracy that claims right-wing extremists pose a threat, and it’s run by an administration that thinks that “weapons of war” shouldn’t be on our streets. Unless they’re the ones driving them, apparently.

There are certainly troubling trends here and very real threats to our Liberty, but we must be careful not to exaggerate. While readers know that we never minimize the outrageous growth of government beyond its constitutional bounds, it also doesn’t seem to us that the government is, as some have put it, “stockpiling bullets in case of civil unrest.” Questions about procurements and functions? Absolutely. Apocalypse? Not yet.

Full Friday Digest Here:
The Truth About Government Ammo Purchases

I have long thought, and often expressed that this ammo purchase was nothing to be that concerned over. Yes, it HAS caused some shortages in certain calibers but the American people going into panic mode and buying out every last available round has done just as much to create an ammo shortage too.

And as I have pointed out, the Federal government may have that much ammo, may have bought or are BUYING that much ammo; they don’t have enough *shooters* to make this anything more than a large ammo buy designed to stock up their shelves.

Ever vigilant my friends, but please, no more panic mode and *OH MY GAWD* emails, I honestly have seen them all.

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11 Responses to Friday Digest — The Truth About Government Ammo Purchases

  1. Capt Ron says:

    Ok, I will settle down… somewhat 🙂

  2. Katie says:

    Stock up their shelves (wasting government money at the time) and making an artificial shortage for the rest of us.

    Obama will try a grab for permanent power, but not until he has his “private army” ready. Knowing it is made up of gang bangers and Muslim terrorist wannabees, I’m not worried.

  3. James Shott says:

    I think an issue of more concern is the posture of gun and ammo manufacturers, who are making it difficult for small gun shops to purchase their weapons and ammo, preferring to deal with large/franchise shops.

    I have a friend who is a gunsmith and runs a small shop near my home who can barely keep his shelves stocked, not because of the government, but because of the industry.

  4. mrchuck says:

    There is an Ammo Shortage!, All gun shows have very very little, and this has doubled the price!
    22 long rifle has doubled. 22 mag has doubled.
    380,9mm, 38 special,357 mag, 40sw, 44 mag, all have doubled.
    223 and 5.56 used to be 5o cents a round, and now it is over 1 dollar a round!
    Go to a gun show. I believe there is one in Mesquite this week-end.
    I am going to one in Canton,TX tomorrow.
    I wish the price would come down, back to the pricing before Newtown.

  5. Texasperated says:

    Don’t expect me to share any of mine, Fred. If they have 6K rounds per agent, I’m not going to stop at 5999. 😀

    Seriously, though, is nobody but the US gummint stockpiling?

    Keep your powder dry

  6. Bloviating Zeppelin says:

    At least I don’t send you any emails about this, eh?



  7. LD Jackson says:

    I haven’t gotten too stirred up about the ammo purchases, simply because I believe there are far more serious things to be worrying about.

  8. Top John says:

    I’ve thought for some time that it’s much ado about nothing. Every agency that has armed personnel buys (seemingly) gargantuan amounts of ammunition to ensure that there is enough on hand for a robust training program, both initial and sustainment. Another tidbit that a lot of folks ignored was that the largest purchases were being made by single agencies, but it was made clear that those agencies procured ammo for multiple agencies. Yawn.

  9. maggiesnotebook says:

    I can believe they saved taxpayer money by buying up big and early. If they decide we’re not to have ammo, that’s a good strategy, and obviously, if that’s not the agenda, we are still forced to pay more for that which is less in abundance.

Comments are closed.