Some updates on how Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is affecting local law enforcement all across the United States.
Redding.com recently reported that in addition to California Representative LaMalfa, 14 other state Congressmen, have added their voices to a letter directed at DHS requesting information about the purchases of nearly 2 billion rounds of mostly hollow point ammunition.
According to the letter, DHS’s purchases have contributed to the ongoing ammunition shortage throughout the United States.
The extraordinary level of ammunition purchases made by Homeland Security seems to have, in states such as my own, created an extreme shortage of ammunition to the point where many gun owners are unable to purchase any. Furthermore, the timing of the purchases is of great interest since the Obama Administration is proposing legislation to restrict access to firearms and ammunition. California Congressman Doug LaMalfa
This shortage has led to the rationing of ammo among police departments all over the country. In turn, this raises concerns among many that budget cuts which affect the hiring and training of qualified police officers and now the tools that they need to do their jobs, is forcing the burden of public safety on the private sector. In California this is especially alarming because of it’s Prison Realignment Reform Act, or AB 109, with headlines of rising crime across the state. The legislation went into effect on October 2, 2011, resulted in altering sentences for more than 100,000 offenders.
Gregory Gwyn-Williams, an outstanding reporter for CNS News provides more information on how police departments are now scrambling and bartering to get their hands on the necessary rounds so their officers can do their jobs.
Ammunition and assault weapons in general have skyrocketed…In addition to that fact, not only is it a lot more expensive, but the time to get it could be six months to a year, or in some cases even longer. Most police departments are having a very difficult time even getting the necessary ammunition for handguns, shotguns and especially rifles. With the delay in ammunition, some departments are limiting the number of rounds they carry in their handgun because of the shortage of ammunition. We get to the point where it is difficult to have enough ammo to train and also equip the officers. Police Chief Cameron Arthur of Jenks, Oklahoma
We started making phone calls and realized there is a waiting list up to a year. We have to limit the amount of times we go and train because we want to keep an adequate stock. Chief Pryor of Rollingwood, Texas
Nobody can get us ammunition at this point. Manufacturers are so far behind that they won’t even give a quote for an order. We have no estimated time on when it will even be available and when ammunition is finally available the high price will squeeze the department’s budget. The other options are to reduce the amount of training and things like that. Sgt. Jason LaCross of the Bozeman, Montana Police Department
Ammo is expensive and lot tougher to get. People don’t have it in stock and it’s back-ordered. Police Chief John Mabry in Marinette, Wisconsin
We’re looking at a four to nine-month wait. Some departments have even applied for grants to pay for the high-priced ammunition. Brett Botbyl, Chief of Police, Menominee, Michigan
Police Chief Tom Szurlinski of the Florence Police Department in Kentucky, is looking for some help filling its clips by applying for the Law Enforcement Protection Program (LEPP) grant to pay for ammunition. http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20130220/NEWS0103/302200096/Florence-police-hoping-ammo-grant?nclick_check=1
As of 22 March 2013. Elizabeth Flock of US News & World Report comments that,
DHS has still failed to answer the key question that debunks claims the bullets are being purchased in bulk to save money and are for training purposes only. Most of the bullets are hollow point rounds, which are unsuitable for training purposes because they cost more money than standard firing range bullets.
All This being said, I will conclude this section of accusations against DHS for stockpiling ammo with information that I found from another blogger who identified himself/herself as tide88. This investigative blogger claims that from what he/she could confirm, some of the orders requested by DHS for purchase and what was actually bought are two different things. To make his point, he argues that on one claim DHS sought to purchase 21.6 million bullets, but the reality became 140,000 rounds, with the contract being awarded to Grace Ammo, LLC, for $38,559.60. Yet, on the 1.6 billion bullet request he points out that a 450 million round order was only one part of the whole. With an amendment added to the original contract, a minimum amount of only 10,000 rounds of each type is guaranteed for only the first year of the contract. This means that after the first year they are not obligated to buy any more ammo, which gives DHS a way out of the contract if they so decide. Ok, but I say that such contract manipulation is creating havoc for other agencies with smaller budgets to receive any kind of priority in getting their orders filled.
Furthermore, a reference is made to a government auction site that provides evidence that seems to suggest that these bullets are indeed being used by government agencies and that they are not being horded. However, after reviewing this site, I must point out that all of these locations are military bases with firing ranges. Therefore, though it is likely that some DHS agencies may be conducting a bit of their target practice in these locations, it is difficult to tell how much, if any, is DHS related and what may be target practice by the military branches that run these bases.
The conclusion drawn is that because this contract is based on a five year period and that the 450 million rounds will not exceed the total amount ordered, we do not have to worry that DHS is stockpiling ammunition. On this judgment, I give great credit to tide88 for looking in to the matter and scoring some good points, but I remain unconvinced and cannot agree with his conclusion. As stated above, we know this contract with ATK is over a five year period. However, by today’s assigned expectations of DHS ammo usage, 1.6 billion and now 2 billion round count is wildly excessive. When local Law Enforcement (LE) can’t do their jobs because they are without adequate weapons and ammo. When LE budgets cannot sustain training and hiring because DHS is blowing the government credit cards on a big shopping spree for their own selfish interests and of course the American people cannot have access to ammunition, then something is wrong.
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