Worried that the feds are purposely hoarding ammo which is consequently leading to shortages in the marketplace, two Oklahoma lawmakers introduced a bill last Friday that would place sensible limits on the amount of ammunition the Obama administration is allowed to purchase on a biannual basis.
The AMMO Act, which stands for Ammunition Management for More Obtainability, is the brainchild of U.S. Sen. Jim Inohfe (R-OK) and Congressman Frank Lucas (R-OK) and it would specifically “restrict agencies from obtaining additional ammunition for a six-month period if current agency stockpiles are higher than its monthly averages prior to the Obama Administration.”
According to the bill, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) would keep tabs on the ammo being purchased and stockpiled by the government and weigh that against the relative supply of ammo available to the public. However, the Dept. of Defense would not be included in the evaluation and would be free to purchase ammo, unchecked.
“President Obama has been adamant about curbing law-abiding Americans’ access and opportunities to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” said Inhofe, in a press release.
“One way the Obama Administration is able to do this is by limiting what’s available in the market with federal agencies purchasing unnecessary stockpiles of ammunition. As the public learned in a House committee hearing this week, the Department of Homeland Security has two years worth of ammo on hand and allots nearly 1,000 more rounds of ammunition for DHS officers than is used on average by our Army officers,” he continued.
“The AMMO Act of 2013 will enforce transparency and accountability of federal agencies’ ammunition supply while also protecting law-abiding citizens access to these resources,” Inhofe concluded.
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Unsurprisingly, DHS has consistently denied charges of market manipulation with respect to bulk ammo purchases. In February, Nelson Peacock, DHS assistant secretary for legislative affairs, responded to an inquiry by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) concerning the DHS’s seemingly large appetite for ammo.
Peacock explained in the letter that DHS’s ammunition procurement plans were part of “strategic sourcing contracts” that “help leverage the purchasing power of DHS to efficiently procure equipment and supplies at significantly lower costs.”
Beyond that the DHS has stated that it purchased 103 million bullets for $36.5 million in fiscal 2012, giving the department 246 million rounds for training and operational use. Roughly 80 percent of the ammo is used for training purposes, as The Hill reported.
Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, has also dismissed claims that the DHS was buying up ammo to keep law-abiding gun owners from exercising their Second Amendment rights.
“I will tell you we found it so inherently unbelievable that those statements would be made, it was hard to ascribe credibility to them,” Napolitano said, at a hearing earlier this month.
Still, despite all the denials, many gun owners are skeptical. The reality is ammo is hard to come by and the government has, at least ostensibly, more than it needs.
“I was surprised to find out the DHS has the right to buy up to 750 million rounds of ammunition over the next five years, while it already has two years worth of ammo already, said Congressman Lucas. “This is an issue that must be addressed, and I am pleased this legislation provides us the opportunity to do so.”
The AMMO Act has been refereed to a House committee for review.
What are your thoughts? Do you support the AMMO Act?