GAO Investigating Homeland Security's Ammunition Purchases

Tuesday, 30 Apr 2013 11:56 AM

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The Government Accountability Office is investigating the Department of Homeland Security's plans to purchase large amounts of ammunition, it has announced.

GAO Spokesman Chuck Young told US News & World Report that the investigation is “just getting underway.”

The GAO is entering the investigation just a few days after legislation was introduced in the House and Senate to prevent agencies, except for the Department of Defense, from buying more ammunition and making their stockpiles greater than they were during previous administrations.

The Ammo Act, introduced by two Oklahoma Republicans, Sen. Jim Inhofe and Rep. Frank Lucas, requires the GAO to share its findings on the Department of Homeland Security's purchases with Congress, said Inhofe spokeswoman Donelle Harder.

There have been different reports concerning the DHS' purchases. Agency officials denied to media and lawmakers that it is stockpiling ammunition, but the Associated Press reported earlier this year the agency wanted to buy more than 1.6 billion rounds. DHS officials testified to Congress last week it only wanted to buy up to 750 million rounds.

DHS spokesman Peter Boogaard said the numbers in the news reports are misleading, because the language of the purchase said the agency needs “up to” a certain amount. The solicitation of “up to” 750 million rounds is for ammunition for training centers and law enforcement personnel over the next five years, he said.

Another five-year contract, for up to 450 million rounds, is also for law enforcement purposes, said Boogard, with the supplies for all DHS agencies except for the Coast Guard.

"With more than 100,000 armed law enforcement personnel in DHS, significant quantities of ammunition are used to support law enforcement operations, quarterly qualifications, and training, to include advanced firearms training exercises," Boogaard told said.

Inhofe, though, accused the Obama Administration of stockpiling ammunition to keep citizens from getting access to it.

"President Obama has been adamant about curbing law-abiding Americans’ access and opportunities to exercise their Second Amendment rights," said Inhofe. “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.”

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