Police Departments Hurt By Excessive DHS Purchases

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.

DHS

Fox News with Megyn Kelly – Interview with California Congressman Doug LaMalfa on DHS Ammo Purchases.

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. Cincinnati.com

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 amendmentadded 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.

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.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.

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7 thoughts on “Police Departments Hurt By Excessive DHS Purchases”

  1. Definitely believe that which you said. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the internet the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people consider worries that they just don’t know about.You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people could take a signal.
    Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

  2. One thing I’ve noticed with the ammo shortage is that .30-caliber ammunition can still be found, at least locally, albeit in limited quantities, which is curious. With all the focus on .223/5.56 and pistol rounds, the .30-caliber is lethal to ~800 yards (in the right hands) and can penetrate light armor. It was used in two World Wars, and is still used by the U.S. in the .308 version as a medium-range sniper rifle. The .30-06 is regarded as a deer hunter round in the U.S., but was the precursor to the .308 in military use, and is still every bit as effective. At any rate, I’m keeping mine…

  3. Well hello Mike and thank you for the detailed feedback. Sometimes I do take a break from this project and I might miss out on a recent development, such as the Breitbart news update, thank you. However, in spite of the comforting report and even some of your own insights, some questions remain. Therefore, I will start with the Breitbart article and the information that you supplied and take it from there. I would prefer to see DHS as a servant of the American people and an agency with nothing to worry about, but I will not close my eyes to questions that still bother me. I want any information that I put out to be as fair and accurate as possible. As to your assumption that I am not a regular firearm user, that is true. My only experience with firearms has been with the M-16 and once with the M-60 when I was in the Military many years ago. Unlike President Obama, going to the shooting range is not my thing, but I will defend your right to bear arms. So let me get to work on the doubts that I still have in regard to DHS and you can look forward to another article soon, Aloha.

  4. I appreciate your considerate and respectful repines. Perhaps I can add some more detail for you.
    “… HSFLGL-12-B-00003, but when I did check it out, I saw 70 million rounds over the life of a 5 year contract, not the 63,256,000 that you mentioned above..”
    -I have seen references to 70 million, if you add up the rounds in the pdf as I have done, it is 63,256,000.

    “This is certainly much less than 1.6 to 2 billion, but I argue, is it really warranted, especially the high priced hollow tipped bullets for training?”
    -When spread out over 5 years, these solicitations result in about 130-140 million rounds per year, very much in keeping with the amounts used by DHS in prior years.
    -”High-priced hollow-tipped bullets.” Your wording here tells me that you probably are not a frequent user of firearms, and the high price is a reference you have seen in some of the articles written elsewhere. While some refer to Hollow point ammo as costing twice as much, I usually pay 10-30% more. I’ve seen it for as little as 3% more. When you consider the prices DHS actually get on HP, I have no problem with it.
    -Furthermore, many agencies prefer their agents to train and qualify with the ammo they carry on duty (usually HP) so that the weapon performs in training exactly as it will in a confrontation. HP is more effective at stopping the target, and it is less likely to cause collateral damage by passing through.

    BTW, Breitbart recently posted a new article that supplants much of the article to which you referred. This article can be found at: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/04/04/The-Great-DHS-Ammunition-Stockpile-Myth

    The data I have reviewed is in synch with virtually everything in the article. While it states that DHS has purchased 800 million rounds since 2011, and I am saying they have solicited 921 million rounds, you will notice that I said some of the 921 million has not been contracted. ALso, these IDIQ contracts do not obligate the DHS to purchase all of the contracted amounts; it only sets the prices and terms for the time period, allowing the DHS to know what their prices will be as they pace actual orders.

  5. Finally a comment that actually addresses the content of the article!
    Thank you for reminding us that what DHS solicits and what they actually procure many be two different things. As to the actual bullet count, I refer to that on (Part 1) of this story. With links to the ATK contract for 450 million rounds and Remington at 200 million, totaling 650 million, and I left it at that. In my original article, I did not refer to HSFLGL-12-B-00003, but when I did check it out, I saw 70 million rounds over the life of a 5 year contract, not the 63,256,000 that you mentioned above (HSFLGL-12-B-00003/Amendment2/16 Aug 2012), but what are a few million rounds here or there.

    Furthermore, the nice round 2 billion number I found in multiple, media sources and not through the old fashioned exercise of manual addition. The source that I linked to was Breitbart News, silly me! So altogether I counted 650 million rounds purchased between ATK and Remington, which leaves your final tally as much more impressive!

    I am sure that I missed a few bullets as scrutinizing these type of documents is about as exciting as reading a legal brief. One blogger that I referred to in my article thinks that the high number of rounds initially requested by DHS could be nothing more than an old budget strategy that government people often employ to assure their future funding in secured. OK, for now lets leave the number at 921 million rounds. This is certainly much less than 1.6 to 2 billion, but I argue, is it really warranted, especially the high priced hollow tipped bullets for training?

    In conclusion, the overall purchases of DHS just doesn’t make sense when our military operations abroad are waning and our economy continues to be weak because the small business sectors lack confidence in the stability of the government. DHS needs to be honest with the Congressional inquiry. Thanks and Aloha!

  6. “However, by today’s assigned expectations of DHS ammo usage, 1.6 billion and now 2 billion round count is wildly excessive. ”

    This number is inconclusive and way overstated. I have a database of DHS solicitations. Since 1.1.11, the total of all DHS solicitations 921 million rounds, and part of those have not been award by contract.

    Part of the confusion could be related to story by Infowars on 8/13/2012 that refers to solicitation # HSFLGL-12-B-00003 and calls it 750 million. However, that solicitation is for “only” 63,256,000 rounds. Another order was described as 2.16 million but was 240,000.

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