By Columnist Jim Kouri
Despite news reports circulating on the Internet and in some news outlets in 2013 and 2014 alleging “extravagant” bullet purchases, the Department of Homeland Security’s yearly ammo purchases have declined since fiscal year 2009 and are comparable in number to the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) ammunition purchases, according to a Government Accountability Office report released on Wednesday.
For example, Infowars.com and Fox News Channel reported that DHS is buying more ammunition including thousands of rounds of sniper rifle ammo.
“The DHS has faced questions over the last couple of years as to the purpose of its mass ammo purchases which have totaled over 2 billion bullets, with some fearing the federal agency is gearing up for civil unrest,” according to a story in on the Prepper Radio Network’s website.
One of the fears expressed on a number of websites’ reports is that the reason federal agencies purchasing such an exorbitant amount of ammunition is that the Obama administration believes the American people, many of whom are armed, may become more militant as his domestic and foreign policies become more known.
Also, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said that “it still looked like the government was unnecessarily amassing ammunition.”
However according to a report requested by the U.S. Congress, the Government Accountability Office claims that in fiscal year 2013, DHS purchased 84 million rounds of ammunition, which is less than DHS’s ammunition purchases over the past 5 fiscal years. DHS component officials told GAO investigators that the decline in ammunition purchases in fiscal year 2013 was primarily a result of budget reductions which resulted in “constraints,” which meant reducing the number of training classes, and drawing on their ammunition inventories.
The GAO report states that from fiscal years 2008 through 2013, the DHS purchased an annual average of 109 million rounds of ammunition for training, qualification, and operational needs, according to DHS data.
“DHS’s ammunition purchases over the 6-year period equates to an average of 1,200 rounds purchased per firearm-carrying agent or officer per year. Over the past 3 fiscal years (2011-2013), DHS purchased an average of 1,000 rounds per firearm-carrying agent or officer and selected DOJ components purchased 1,300 rounds per firearm-carrying agent or officer,” according to the GAO report.
DHS official told GAO analysts that “ammunition purchases are driven primarily by firearm training and qualification requirements.”
The GAO investigation revealed that most DHS firearm-carrying personnel must “qualify” four times per year, though requirements vary by agency, as do the number of rounds of ammunition typically used for training and qualification.
DHS agencies, such as the Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Federal Air Marshals and the Secret Service, also reported that they consider other factors when making ammunition purchase decisions, such as changes in firearms, usage rates, and ammunition inventories, according to the GAO report.
DHS directorates maintain inventories of ammunition in order to make certain they have enough ammo for various weapons for training and operational needs of their officers, with officials claiming “there can be months-long delays between placing an order for ammunition and receiving it.”
But according to Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, the Department of Homeland Security “is buying more bullets with a solicitation for over 141,00 rounds of sniper ammunition.”
According to that website’s report, “The latest purchase further illustrates the fallacy of the DHS’ excuse that it is buying bullets in bulk in order to save money. The federal agency will pay around $1.20 for each round, when a lower grain round could be acquired for around a quarter of the price.”