Homeland Security's Ammo Purchases Lead to Police Shortages

Image: Homeland Security's Ammo Purchases Lead to Police Shortages

Thursday, 16 May 2013 02:20 PM

By Lisa Barron

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A national ammunition shortage is affecting police departments across the country, with law enforcement officials in several states saying they face long delays in receiving orders.

"I was really surprised, let's just put it that way," Proctor, Minn., Police Chief Walt Wobig told the Northland NewsCenter of the difficulty in obtaining ammunition.

He said that when he asked suppliers for the 1,000 rounds of ammo his officers needed for training, he was told he'd have to wait months. He said he was forced to ask local citizens to lend their personal supplies until the order came in.

"The citizens were like, 'If you need something, we got plenty here,'" said Wobig.

"What we've done is try and focus more on some other training we can do without shooting ammunition," Chief Sol Oberg with the Kaysville Police Department in Utah told The Salt Lake City Fox affiliate.

Other departments are cutting back on training. "If the manufacturers are telling your distributors, 'We're three, four, or six months out,' you aren't able to train until you have your ammunition," Sgt. Rick Morgan of the Roy, Utah, Police Department told the same station.

Craig Ball, the operations director at Impact Guns in Ogden, Utah told Fox 13 that demand has been high and rising since late December and early January, shortly after the shooting massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Sandy Hook prompted the White House to push for expanded background checks on gun owners. Although new legislation on universal checks did not pass in the Senate in April, Democratic lawmakers have said they will continue to back the measure.

As a result, gun owners are buying more bullets. "It’s fear. People are wanting to make sure they have what’s not available to them at a later time," one Ogden resident told Fox 13.

"The second reason is, you see the federal government snatching up a whole bunch of ammo with the Department of Homeland Security," said another gun owner.

Indeed, the Government Accountability Office announced last month that it is investigating Homeland Security's plans to buy large amounts of ammunition. The GAO’s investigation came after two Oklahoma Republicans, Sen. Jim Inhofe and Rep. Frank Lucas, introduced legislation to prevent government agencies other than the Defense Department from buying any more ammunition if its stockpiles are already larger than what they were in previous administrations.

The Associated Press reported earlier this year that Homeland Security had plans to buy more than 1.6 billion rounds of ammo over the next four or five years, although DHS officials testified to Congress in April that the agency wanted to purchase up to 750 million rounds for training centers and law enforcement over the next five years.

Inhofe has accused the Obama administration of stockpiling ammunition to keep citizens from gaining access to it, saying in a statement, "President Obama has been adamant about curbing law-abiding Americans' access and opportunities to exercise their Second Amendment rights."

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