I wrote Thursday’s column after my well-connected friend informed me his high-in-the-ranks Department of Homeland Security buddy told him DHS was preparing for the collapse of the U.S. dollar.
This weekend I did a lot of digging on the subject of the feds stockpiling ammo.
First of all, I was wrong about police forces in the United States not being allowed to use hollow-point ammo. It used to be outlawed, but it’s not anymore.
Years ago I asked a couple of police officer friends why they couldn’t use hollow points in their work, but civilians could buy and use them for hunting. They told me, by law, they were not permitted to use them in their service revolvers. That was back when they actually used revolvers.
For a long time police forces adhered to the same rules armies around the world still adhere to, the Hague Convention of 1899.
According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, “Like the Declaration of Saint Petersburg of 1868, the Hague Declaration (IV, 3) of 1899 gives expression, with regard to a particular bullet, to the customary rule prohibiting the use of weapons which inflict unnecessarily cruel wounds. The Declaration is aimed at the Dum-Dum bullet which is so called after the arsenal near Calcutta where the bullet was first made.”
But isn’t that the point of bullets – to be effective killing devices? Read on, and I’ll try to unravel this seemingly dunderheaded idea for you…
Doing the Math
In war, we use less effective killing ammo – full-metal-jacket bullets (FMJ) – because it takes more men and money to retrieve and care for wounded soldiers than dead ones, which raises the cost of war. That’s why armies don’t use hollow points.
Police are another story. Though they adhered to the Hague rules for years, eventually American cities, counties and states passed laws authorizing police to use hollow-point bullets.
The reasoning is twofold. FMJ rounds more easily pierce targets, ricochet and cause collateral damage. And because police are authorized to use “deadly force,” the more effective stopping and killing power of hollow points makes them almost standard issue today. The New York Police Department, for example, switched to hollow-point ammo in 1998.
You get it: Hollow-point rounds are for killing.
They are also more expensive than FMJ rounds.
So when the Homeland Security’s Federal Law Enforcement Training Center wants to buy 1.6 billion rounds of hollow-point ammunition, they’re probably not for target practice.
That’s right, DHS is out soliciting bids to buy 1.6 billion rounds of hollow-point ammo. It bought 360,000 rounds in 2013 and 1.5 billion rounds in 2012.
Other federal agencies have been buying large quantities of hollow-point ammo too.
In 2011, the Federal Bureau of Investigation put out bids for 100 million rounds of hollow-point ammo.
More recently, the Social Security Administration just ordered 174,000 rounds of .357 sig 125 grain bonded jacketed hollow points. The Department of Agriculture this year bought 320,000 rounds. The National Weather Service bought 46,000 rounds. And the U.S. Postal Service is stockpiling hollow points, too.
This is all a matter of federal records. You can find this data on the Internet, from official sources. There’s also a lot of rubbish on the Internet alluding to conspiracy theories about why these agencies, which have no apparent reason to be ordering massive quantities of ammo, are in fact amassing huge stockpiles.
But if you dig a little deeper, some of these “large” purchases aren’t crazy.
The Department of Agriculture’s purchase of 320,000 rounds makes perfect sense. It administers 155 national forests and 20 national grasslands comprising 193 million acres of land, an area twice as big as Japan or Germany.
And the National Weather Service buying 46,000 rounds isn’t crazy either. The ammo is for the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement. That unit has 63 armed personnel, meaning each was issued 730 rounds. Target shooters will use that much ammo in a few outings to the range.
All the other seemingly odd agencies that purchase ammo have an “Office of the Inspector General” that houses their “Criminal Investigation Division.” Officers in the criminal division execute warrants and apprehend suspected criminals, so ammo purchases make sense.
That leaves the Department of Homeland Security.
DHS incorporates the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the National Protection and Programs Directorate (check that one out yourself), the U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. Secret Service.
Now, with all those “agents” and “officers,” maybe a couple billion rounds of hollow points add up to all that much.
However, while a lot of the “hype” about feds stockpiling ammo can logically explained, it doesn’t mean they aren’t preparing for the collapse of the dollar and civil chaos.
Keep reading, because I’m going to be telling you how we are going to prepare.
Wall Street Insights & Indictments: The Feds Are Stockpiling Ammo – Here’s What We’re Going to Do.