USDA Looking To Buy Submachine Guns

Saturday, 17 May 2014 02:12 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking to buy submachine guns — but isn't saying why it needs them.

According to a solicitation filed on May 7, the department has a detailed list of specifications for its "commercial acquisition of submachine guns."

The department is seeking .40 caliber submachine guns complete with flashlights, optics, burst fire capability, and 30-round magazines.

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The guns, the department says, should have an "semi-automatic or 2 shot burst trigger group, Tritium night sights for front and rear, rails for attachment of flashlight (front under fore grip) and scope (top rear), stock-collapsible or folding, magazine - 30 rd. capacity, sling, lightweight, and oversized trigger guard for gloved operation."

There are no solicitation documents for the gun buy, but "responsible and/or interested sources may submit their company name, point of contact, and telephone," and if the information is received in a timely manner, the sellers will be considered by the agency to contact and determine "weapon suitability."

Dan Cannon, a writer for the blog Guns Save Lives, notes that the U.S. Forest Service and its law enforcement division are under the USDA's control, and could be a likely place for the firearms to be used.

The two contacts on the solicitation document, Linda Josey, chief of the USDA's Procurement Management branch and Desiree Clayton, USDA Contracting Officer, could not be immediately reached Saturday for comment on the order.

The USDA isn't the only federal agency to seek weapons or ammunition in recent months.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Postal Service joined the list of federal agencies seeking to purchase what some Second Amendment activists say are alarmingly large quantities of ammunition.

The Postal Service listed a notice on its website, under the heading "Assorted Small Arms Ammunition," that said: "The United States Postal Service intends to solicit proposals for assorted small arms ammunition. If your organization wishes to participate, you must pre-register. This message is only a notification of our intent to solicit proposals."

Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Washington-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, said in April that his organization is seeing a highly unusual amount of ammunition being bought by the federal agencies over a fairly short period of time. To be honest, I don't understand why the federal government is buying so much at this time."

A little more than a year ago, the Social Security Administration put in a request for 174,000 rounds of ".357 Sig 125 grain bonded jacketed hollow-point" bullets, shortly after the USDA requested 320,000 rounds.

And more recently, the Department of Homeland Security requested 450 million rounds — around the same time the FBI sought 100 million hollow-point rounds.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees the National Weather Service, has also requested 46,000 rounds.

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