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March 05, 2013

Charles W. Cooke: Rumors That the Government Is Buying Up Huge Quantities of Ammunition Are Greatly Overstated

The mystery of the Huge Ammunition Purchases becomes less mysterious when you consider the surprising fact that apparently virtually every branch of the government has its own investigatory sorta-police force.

Which is its own issue. But not the one we were thinking about.

For example:

Last year, the Social Security Administration put out a procurement request for 174,000 rounds of “.357 Sig 125 grain bonded jacketed hollow point pistol ammunition,” prompting a few on the Internet to work themselves up into something of a frenzy.

[O]ne could reasonably ask why the Social Security Administration would need any ammunition at all. Are the elderly especially unruly these days? Jonathan L. Lasher, in the SSA’s external-relations department, explained to the Huffington Post that the ammunition is “for the 295 agents” in the outfit’s office of inspector general “who investigate Social Security fraud and other crimes.” Divide the rounds by the number of agents, and you get about 590 per agent; in a given year, that’s about ten rounds a week. “Most will be expended on the firing range,” Lasher continued.

This pattern continues in other agencies:

Forty-six thousand rounds also sound like a lot for the National Weather Service. (Actually, the ammo was requested by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement, which is overseen by the same department.) In reality, it’s not that much. The service has only 63 armed personnel, which brings the purchase out at around 730 rounds per officer.

Which actually still seems like a lot of ammo, to me. If I can Trust Hollywood, police detectives tend to be lackadaisical about hitting the firing range. Are these guys hitting the range and shooting 100 shots seven times per year? Seems like a lot.

This actually seems like a waste issue we should address. If these guys are really firing that much at the range, fine. But it does seem high to me. I'm assuming these are not serious law-enforcement or security personnel who would be engaging in a lot of target practice as a basic part of their job duties.


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posted by Ace at 07:27 PM

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