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The Great Ammunition Myth - The government is not planning a violent putdown of civil unrest.
National Review Online ^ | March 5, 2013 | Charles C. W. Cooke

Posted on 03/05/2013 4:31:55 PM PST by neverdem

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. “It’s not outlandish,” claimed Paul Joseph Wilson, one of a team of professional paranoiacs on the Infowars website, “to suggest that the Social Security Administration is purchasing the bullets as part of preparations for civil unrest.” “Something strange is going on,” harmonized Breitbart’s William Bigelow. Even Mark Levin was concerned. “I know why the government’s arming up,” he deduced. “It’s not because there’s going to be an insurrection; it’s because our society is unraveling.”

The Social Security Administration’s purchase was by no means an anomaly. A year earlier, the unlikely pair of the Department of Agriculture (320,000 rounds) and the National Weather Service (46,000 rounds) had both put out tenders for ammunition. And slightly less odd, but still staggering, were the FBI’s professed intention to purchase up to 100 million “hollow point” rounds and the Department of Homeland Security’s concurrent request for 450 million rounds. The Department of Education got in on the weapons-supplying spree, too, purchasing “27 Remington Brand Model 870 police 12-gauge shotguns.”

The first question: “Why?” The second: “Should we be worried?”

The appeal of this story is obvious, and that some citizens keep track of such things shows an admirable vigilance. But while a healthy suspicion of government serves these United States better than critics presume, facts remain the stubborn things that they always have been, and skepticism is no virtue at all when it proves impervious to reason. Those who are vexed that the state is stocking up on ammunition — and troubled by fears that this might be a step toward D.C.’s assault on the citizens for whom it works — can relax for now. Whatever the federal government has become, it is not yet plotting violence against the people.

Nonetheless, one 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.

Okay. And why does the USDA need 320,000 rounds? Because it runs the Forest Service, which covers “155 national forests” and “20 national grasslands” on a total of “193 million acres of land.” As well as agents in the field, the outfit has a law-enforcement unit based in Washington, D.C., whose responsibility it is to enforce federal laws and regulations. In context, those 320,000 rounds look a lot less threatening: If the U.S. Forest Service were to distribute ammunition at the same rate as the Social Security Administration, they would have enough for just 542 agents — not bad for an organization that covers an area the size of Pakistan (or twice the size of Japan or Germany).

It’s all about scale. 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. This, suffice it to say, does not present a great threat to the Republic. As the NRA has noted, “more than a few NRA members would use that much ammunition in a weekend shooting class or plinking session.” There are enough risks to the right to bear arms and to American liberty in general, the NRA continued, without “inventing threats.”

The FBI and DHS’s apparently vast orders are deceptively presented by the conspiracy theorists. It is true that in 2011, the FBI ordered up to 100 million bullets for its 13,913 special agents (which works out to 7,187 per agent). And, yes, the Department of Homeland Security — a composite department that oversees USCIS, Customs and Border Protection, FEMA, ICE, the TSA, the Coast Guard, the Secret Service, and the National Protection Directorate — placed a request for up to 450 million rounds for its 65,000 armed personnel (which works out to 6,923 per agent).

But in the real world, ammunition is not divided up and handed out on such a basis. What is bought is stockpiled and then allocated on the basis of need. The DHS’s order is expected to last for at least five years, and it was placed up front primarily as a cost-saving measure. Moreover, as the chief of staff to Congressman Lynn Westmoreland (R., Georgia) revealed in a press release in May 2012 that was designed to calm the fears of his constituents:

DHS entered into a contract that allows them to purchase up to 450 million rounds of 40 caliber ammunition over the next five years. They cannot exceed 450 million rounds and are not required to purchase 450 million rounds. Basically, they have a tab with a manufacturer to order more rounds as they are needed over the next five years — not a one-time ammunition order.

Think of it like “that monthly trip to Sam’s Club or Costco,” he added.

The popular claim that one in five IRS agents is armed is false, too. Only 3 percent of IRS agents — 2,725 people, to be precise — are “special agents” who work on criminal cases. Also untrue, but a popular talking point: The legions of new IRS agents expected to be hired to enforce Obamacare will be armed. I am second to none in wishing that the IRS did not exist, and that, if it must, it did not have Obamacare to enforce. But that is no excuse for fearmongering, and Ron Paul’s infamous claim that the IRS was set to hire 16,500 “armed bureaucrats” in order to enforce the new health-care law, not backed up in fact, has launched a thousand deranged e-mail chains.

And the Department of Education? The Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss looked into the question of those shotguns in 2010 and received the following response from the Education Department’s Office of Inspector General:

The Office of Inspector General is the law enforcement arm of the U.S. Department of Education and is responsible for the detection of waste, fraud, abuse, and other criminal activity involving Federal education funds, programs, and operations. As such, OIG operates with full statutory law-enforcement authority, which includes conducting search warrants, making arrests, and carrying firearms. The acquisition of these firearms is necessary to replace older and mechanically malfunctioning firearms, and in compliance with Federal procurement requirements.

Fair enough. But here one starts to sympathize with the malcontents. There is a world of difference between the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, or Forest Service and the Department of Education, and that there is no grand clandestine plan for the subjugation of America should by no means be taken to imply that every government action is acceptable. Questions do still abound: Whether it is in possession of one bullet or 1 million bullets, should the federal Department of Education be armed in the first place? If so, why? Should its OIG be investigating external fraud rather than handing it over to the police or the DOJ or the FBI? For those federal departments that play no role in combating domestic and foreign threats — such as the DoE — what would constitute a threat requiring armed confrontation with malefactors?

In 2011, a story about a Department of Education raid went the rounds. Initial versions suggested that the department had commissioned a SWAT team to break into a California home and arrest the estranged husband of a woman who had defaulted on her student loan. Mercifully, this was incorrect. There was no SWAT team involved, nor was the target being investigated for unpaid loans. But the reality was not necessarily much better. Instead, the DoE announced that it had conducted the raid itself, in pursuit of an American citizen that it suspected of “bribery, fraud, and embezzlement of federal student aid funds.” It was a disaster; the suspect no longer lived in the house, a fact that special agents eventually discovered after they had smashed in the doors at dawn, thrown the occupant’s children into a police car, and kept the suspect’s (innocent) husband in handcuffs in a hot squad car for six hours.

As the local ABC affiliate reported, in an attempt to clear up the confusion, “police officers did not participate in breaking [the target’s] door, handcuffing him, or searching his home.” Instead, the Department of Education did. Judging by their ammunition purchases, the Social Security Administration and the IRS could have done so, too. That, and not fantasies about a plan to counter phantom civil unrest, is what should concern Americans.

— Charles C. W. Cooke is an editorial associate at National Review.



TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Government; US: District of Columbia
KEYWORDS: banglist; guncontrol; itcanthappenhere; secondamendment
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1 posted on 03/05/2013 4:32:10 PM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem

I feel better now that I know why my government bought over 1 billion bullets for domestic use.

Do I really need to post the sarcasm tag?


2 posted on 03/05/2013 4:35:21 PM PST by MeganC (The left have so twisted public perceptions that the truth now appears pornographic.- SpaceBar)
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To: neverdem

If nothing else it graphically illustrates how many Federal agents there are. Give each agent 100 rounds, pretty soon you are buying a billion bullets.

But be calm citizens, move on, nothing to see here.


3 posted on 03/05/2013 4:36:45 PM PST by DManA
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Comment #4 Removed by Moderator

To: neverdem

Screw that. I’ve got a completely rational fear that my 70 year old butterball of a postmistress is going to kick down my door, roll into the room and start shooting.


5 posted on 03/05/2013 4:40:56 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: neverdem

The author is trying to use rational arguments against a conspiracy theory.

He stands no chance.

Conspiracy theories are indestructible. If we we ever get hit by a massive asteroid the only things that will survive will be cockroaches and conspiracy theories.


6 posted on 03/05/2013 4:41:30 PM PST by FewsOrange
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To: neverdem

Do they really use hollow point rounds for target practice? Somehow I doubt it.


7 posted on 03/05/2013 4:42:07 PM PST by ConjunctionJunction
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Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

To: neverdem

I had occasion to be inside an IRS office at one time servicing their equipment. I did see boxes of kevlar vests...about five boxes of 6 vests each. I also heard several agents planning a weekend raid on a tax avoider to confiscate his collectible automobiles. Obviously the equipment, in the case of the IRS, is for collection activities and seems harmless enough. The Department of Education, however, being armed does NOT make sense to me.


9 posted on 03/05/2013 4:44:34 PM PST by ez (Laws only apply to little people. Criminals, politicians, and newsies are exempt.)
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To: FewsOrange

I suspect it has a lot more to do with covering our emperor arming someone overseas.


10 posted on 03/05/2013 4:45:02 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: cripplecreek

Lol. I have that image scorched in my head now.


11 posted on 03/05/2013 4:45:11 PM PST by TADSLOS (The Event Horizon has come and gone. Buckle up and hang on.)
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To: TADSLOS

I call her Commando Janice


12 posted on 03/05/2013 4:46:34 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: MeganC

well. now I can finally get some sleep...


13 posted on 03/05/2013 4:46:59 PM PST by dontreadthis
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To: neverdem

MYTH????

Those who beleive this stand on you head and stack BB’s.


14 posted on 03/05/2013 4:49:55 PM PST by True Grit
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To: INVAR

We’re up to billions of bullets, now? Gosh, all I did was take a nap for a couple of hours.


15 posted on 03/05/2013 4:50:07 PM PST by 1rudeboy
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"Only complete idiots would pay the high cost of semi-jacketed hollowpoints for target practice."

This is the government we're talking about.

16 posted on 03/05/2013 4:50:49 PM PST by muir_redwoods (Don't fire until you see the blue of their helmets)
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To: neverdem

The government/journolist explanations are more screwy than the questions. Have we ever, EVER had this amount of ammunition purchased for domestic use in any past administration???


17 posted on 03/05/2013 4:53:11 PM PST by parisa
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To: neverdem

It makes sense.
Until you get to the 2,700 armored personnel carriers.


18 posted on 03/05/2013 4:55:21 PM PST by ctdonath2 (3% of the population perpetrates >50% of homicides...but gun control advocates blame metal boxes.)
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To: neverdem

Why hollow-points?


19 posted on 03/05/2013 4:55:58 PM PST by Uncle Miltie (Due Process 2013: "Burn the M*****-F***er Down!")
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To: DManA
If nothing else it graphically illustrates how many Federal agents there are. Give each agent 100 rounds, pretty soon you are buying a billion bullets.

I couldn't agree more. But as a police officer in a medium-sized town I would love to know I had a 1,000 rounds per year at my disposal for target practice and range qualification.
20 posted on 03/05/2013 4:56:43 PM PST by brent13a
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To: neverdem

The article actually (and unintentionally) raises another problem for the citizen/taxpayer: why are there so many layers and layers and layers of federal agency employees in the first place, leaving alone the question of why they’re packing heat? I think we’re getting a little help identifying where cuts can be made here.

And .357 ammo? Wouldn’t we all love to have a few boxes of that stuff in the closet, but we all know those are revolver loads.


21 posted on 03/05/2013 4:57:38 PM PST by lurk
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To: neverdem
Keep believing that..you will be o.k. The Jews in Germany never believed that the Nazis were coming after them like other Jews said that they were,either. History tells us which side was right.

We have this example, plus more from the past to learn from. If we refuse to heed the warnings from the past......

22 posted on 03/05/2013 4:57:51 PM PST by sport
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To: neverdem; All

Lock and load, people...

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2993832/posts


23 posted on 03/05/2013 4:58:02 PM PST by raptor22 (Visit my blog at True Conservatives on Twitter: http://t.co/IKpP3cwq)
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To: INVAR; Admin Moderator

Why did you introduce an anti-semitic libel?


24 posted on 03/05/2013 4:58:44 PM PST by Uncle Miltie (Due Process 2013: "Burn the M*****-F***er Down!")
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To: lurk
And .357 ammo? Wouldn’t we all love to have a few boxes of that stuff in the closet, but we all know those are revolver loads.

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt here and assume you didn't see the "sig" after the .357.
You would otherwise be correct if they were buying .357 MAG ammo, but they are talking about .357 SIG.
.357 SIG is an auto pistol round, .357 MAG is a revolver round.
25 posted on 03/05/2013 5:01:37 PM PST by brent13a
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To: brent13a

Train the police or staff the diversity office.

MAN it’s hard to rule a city.


26 posted on 03/05/2013 5:02:11 PM PST by DManA
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To: raptor22

The author was probably paid by the 0 administration to write an article to quell concerns and civil unrest. Don’t buy it for second....


27 posted on 03/05/2013 5:03:59 PM PST by jsanders2001
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To: FewsOrange

The author is trying to use rational arguments against a conspiracy theory.

He stands no chance.

Conspiracy theories are indestructible. If we we ever get hit by a massive asteroid the only things that will survive will be cockroaches and conspiracy theories.


This is one of the best postings I have read here.... ever. Salute and FRegards!


28 posted on 03/05/2013 5:04:13 PM PST by volunbeer (We must embrace austerity or austerity will embrace us)
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To: ez
RE: "The Department of Education, however, being armed does NOT make sense to me."

DOE raids Stockton [California] home in criminal probe.

.. oh but all government entities must be outfitted to handle the 24/7 threats from the masses . . . . :)

29 posted on 03/05/2013 5:07:04 PM PST by WilliamofCarmichael (If modern America's Man on Horseback is out there, Get on the damn horse already!)
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To: jsanders2001
The author was probably paid by the 0 administration to write an article to quell concerns and civil unrest. Don’t buy it for second....

Perhaps.
And maybe every armed government agent is a trained handgun sniper that will kill with every shot he/she takes.
Because, when you divvy up the yearly amount of allotted ammo per agent 500-1000 rounds is much much more than any TEA partier or lifelong hunter will have stockpiled.
30 posted on 03/05/2013 5:10:32 PM PST by brent13a
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To: neverdem

What then, does the Department of Homeland Security need with over 2700 armored vehicles?


31 posted on 03/05/2013 5:10:46 PM PST by maxwellsmart_agent
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To: ConjunctionJunction

Yeah, they do use hollow points for practice. In fact it is a violation of Customs and Border Protection’s firearms policy to use anything other than the hollow points issued by CBP in service issued handguns.


32 posted on 03/05/2013 5:12:22 PM PST by Ajnin (Neca eos omnes. Deus suos agnocet!)
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To: maxwellsmart_agent
What then, does the Department of Homeland Security need with over 2700 armored vehicles?

Good question.
--Are they getting them all at once?
--Are they going to have like 3 giant parking lots in a few places around the US just full of APC's?
--How many are going to be granted to police departments who don't need them?
--How much does DHS operate overseas, and how many APC's will be used overseas and not here?
etc
etc

33 posted on 03/05/2013 5:15:02 PM PST by brent13a
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To: neverdem

I’ve been saying much of this for a while and I usually get a bird or ‘ib4tz’


34 posted on 03/05/2013 5:15:12 PM PST by mnehring
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To: Uncle Miltie
Why hollow-points?

Because that is what DHS has always used. Even before DHS, the legacy agencies of Customs, INS and the Border Patrol all used hollow points for basic qualification and practice.

35 posted on 03/05/2013 5:15:12 PM PST by Ajnin (Neca eos omnes. Deus suos agnocet!)
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To: neverdem
Think of it like “that monthly trip to Sam’s Club or Costco,” he added.



Yeah. Just a monthly shopping trip.
36 posted on 03/05/2013 5:17:08 PM PST by PA Engineer (Liberate America from the Occupation Media.)
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To: ctdonath2
It makes sense.
Until you get to the 2,700 armored personnel carriers.

Agreed. Where the ammo was concerned, I figured they already had enough on hand to cause us plenty of trouble *before* these new procurement actions were reported. Also knowing how much ammo the citizens have stockpiled in recent years, I'd say the feds would be on the losing side of any supply/attrition scenario.

And of course they know that, too, which is the reason behind the APCs. Fifty or so of those things per state would tip the tactical scales back in the feds' direction... at least in the short term.

37 posted on 03/05/2013 5:18:34 PM PST by Charles Martel (Endeavor to persevere...)
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To: Ajnin; Uncle Miltie
Yeah, they do use hollow points for practice. In fact it is a violation of Customs and Border Protection’s firearms policy to use anything other than the hollow points issued by CBP in service issued handguns.

"You train with what you carry" is what we say. It doesn't make sense, if you can afford it, to train with anything else than what you carry on duty. Why qualify at the range with a round that shoots differently than the one that you may need to save your life?
38 posted on 03/05/2013 5:18:34 PM PST by brent13a
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To: Ajnin

If that’s standard practice, isn’t it stupid?

I have cheap range ammo for paper targets and expensive personal protection hollow points.

Is the gubmint stupid buying hollow points for putting holes in paper?


39 posted on 03/05/2013 5:19:20 PM PST by Uncle Miltie (Due Process 2013: "Burn the M*****-F***er Down!")
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To: neverdem

DHS buys 1.6 billions rounds and 2,700 MRAP mine-resistant Armored Vehicles.

A.G. Holder says that the White House can use drone strikes to kill U.S. citizens on American soil.

Move along folks, nothing to see here...


40 posted on 03/05/2013 5:21:56 PM PST by EricT. (The Second Amendment is Tyrant Control.)
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To: FewsOrange

Well, just because I’m paranoid, doesn’t mean that they really aren’t out to get me.

As a Bircher, I got ridiculed for years. (Still do) “Oh, go put your tin foil hat on and sit in the corner! Stupid Bircher!”

Now, when all we predicted has come to pass, and we sit in the crumbling ruins of our once great nation, those same damn CONSERVATIVE fools who laughed at and impugned us, now sit and bleat “But Who Kneeww? Oh, Just who Kneww??”

Glenn Beck anyone? Rush Lintball? etc.

Senator McCarthy was lambasted for YEARS. He is still maligned today by our so-called CONSERVATIVE clowns who are so much smarter.

Hey, I remember when the Soviet Union finally collapsed and we got access to their classified records, we found that ALGER HISS REALLY WAS A FRIGGIN SPY AND MCCARTHY STRUCK TERROR INTO THE HEART OF THE KGB!

Don’t read about THAT conspiracy born out to be true, now do we.

The FACT is that the fedgov is on a massive buying spree for ammo, the local shelves are bare in my neck of the woods. And that damnable supply and demand thingee that pushes prices through the roof has kicked in. Box of .40 jacketed are in the ionosphere. That’s NOT a damn “tin foil hat conspiracy!” That’s FACT. Prove it to yourself, go down and see what’s left on the shelf!

I shouldn’t get so worked up. After all, I’ve been called “the tin foil hat crowd” by CONSERVATIVES for about 40 plus years.

The only thing that keeps my head up, is that I’ve EARNED the name “ENEMY” from the statists, collectivists, progressives and other SATANISTS.

And I’m proud of that achievement.


41 posted on 03/05/2013 5:22:25 PM PST by ConradofMontferrat (According to mudslymz, my handle is a HATE CRIME. And I HOPE they don't like it.)
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To: brent13a

That works out to hundreds of millions of extra dollars of expense.

Man, I wish I had their ammo budget.


42 posted on 03/05/2013 5:22:51 PM PST by Uncle Miltie (Due Process 2013: "Burn the M*****-F***er Down!")
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To: brent13a
And maybe every armed government agent is a trained handgun sniper that will kill with every shot he/she takes

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! OMG, that was too funny. The only people in the Federal Service that are capable of doing that aren't going to be participating in any gun confiscation or indiscriminate killing of civilians.

43 posted on 03/05/2013 5:24:15 PM PST by Ajnin (Neca eos omnes. Deus suos agnocet!)
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To: neverdem

I wash my hands of the whole thing.....it is now entirely invenereal to me !!!!! and I’m happy everything’s hunky do-re-me!

Semper Semper!
*****


44 posted on 03/05/2013 5:25:37 PM PST by gunnyg ("A Constitution changed from Freedom, can never be restored; Liberty, once lost, is lost forever...)
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To: neverdem

Oh good. Nevermind then. All is well.


45 posted on 03/05/2013 5:25:42 PM PST by servo1969
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To: Uncle Miltie
That works out to hundreds of millions of extra dollars of expense.
Man, I wish I had their ammo budget.


As do I. As it stands, our PD has to fight just to get ammo to practice with. Some of us buy our own agency-approved ammo for duty carry.
46 posted on 03/05/2013 5:26:42 PM PST by brent13a
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To: brent13a

While DHS does have some armored vehicles, they aren’t getting 2,700 more of them - the purchase of 2,712 vehicles is by the Department of the Navy for the USMC.


47 posted on 03/05/2013 5:27:28 PM PST by Strategerist
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To: 1rudeboy

If people would actually read the articles, DHS hasn’t already bought billions of rounds.

It’s an option to buy that many over a 5 year period, and it’s almost certain the full purchases will not actually occur.

The problem with debunking all this nonsense, despite the obssesive desire of the kooksters to believe this, is that debunking it relies on deep understanding of tedious, boring, and insanely complex government procurement techniques.


48 posted on 03/05/2013 5:30:37 PM PST by Strategerist
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To: 1rudeboy

If people would actually read the articles, DHS hasn’t already bought billions of rounds.

It’s an option to buy that many over a 5 year period, and it’s almost certain the full purchases will not actually occur.

The problem with debunking all this nonsense, despite the obssesive desire of the kooksters to believe this, is that debunking it relies on deep understanding of tedious, boring, and insanely complex government procurement techniques.


49 posted on 03/05/2013 5:30:42 PM PST by Strategerist
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To: Ajnin
And maybe every armed government agent is a trained handgun sniper that will kill with every shot he/she takes
----------
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! OMG, that was too funny. The only people in the Federal Service that are capable of doing that aren't going to be participating in any gun confiscation or indiscriminate killing of civilians.


Exactly.
That's why, even if DHS ordered 2 billion rounds of ammo I wouldn't sweat it that much.
Just how much "trigger time" do you think your average balding fat male or ugly bull-dyke female "Special Agent" gets each year?
They may be allotted 1,000 rounds per year but a minuscule proportion of all these agents will ever actually be proficient with their weapons.
50 posted on 03/05/2013 5:31:09 PM PST by brent13a
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