The Czar was having dinner the other night with a police detective with whom he is well acquainted. The Czar asked if he was the one who bought up all the Czar’s ammunition. The detective smiled politely and mentioned how crazy it is; the Czar replied that entire shooting ranges are sold out of most types of ammunition. The federal government purchased a massive stockpile of 9mm, 5.56mm, .45 ACP, and .40 S&W ammunition; as a result, private gun owners have made a run on just about every other caliber to have at least something on their shelves.
The detective mentioned the name of a particular retailer in the area who sells only to law enforcement; he said that even they were just about sold out; the only thing left on the shelves were tumbleweeds. If you’re not a shooter, you should know that tumbleweeds do not refer to a type of bullet or a manufacturer; he means literal tumbleweeds.
The problem, he explained, is that law enforcement does not have enough ammunition. Even cops can’t get what they need, so something—ultimately—has to be done about this.
Of course, the wing nuts are all agitated. The DHS is buying up all the ammunitions so that the private citizens can’t haz it!!!!!#!!elevnetee!!!!!!1!!
That seems counter-intuitive. If the government wanted to keep ammunition out of private hands, they would quickly have the local municipalities in large cities put on a $1 per bullet tax. That would fix that as well as bring in revenue.
In fact, the government has not purchased one billion rounds of ammunition.
What the DHS has done was agree with ammunition manufacturers to purchase 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition over the next five years to create a strategic stockpile of ammunition available to law enforcement communities around the United States (federal and non-federal) at discounted rates.
You may be surprised to learn that the DHS normally buys 750,000,000 rounds of ammunition over five years. This is not alarming.
The increased amount, though, is bizarre. The additional 850,000,000 rounds will be issued to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other agencies. Looks like they might be addressing the illegal alien problem in a different way.
Early reports that much of this surplus was hollow point (“sniper!!!!&!!!OMG”) ammunition, or that two billion rounds were purchased in the last six months, et cetera, appear to be exaggerations or even completely untrue.
However, it should be noted that the DHS is no longer responding to requests about what additional 850K rounds are for. Popular, and more plausible, theories include that the government is setting up a strategic reserve (like we did in the 1970s with oil, when the price skyrocketed) to counter the crazy-nuts surge in firearm popularity. In other words, you know how hard it has been to get ammunition lately? The government, too.
Another reason to wonder about the whole thing is what the government has bought. They have not been buying .357M, .38 special, .380, 10mm, .44, and other civilian caliber rounds. So why are those off the shelves? Supply and demand. Manufacturers ramped up production of the military calibers at the expense of the others, sure, but the biggest cause of ammunition depletion has been civilians panic-buying.
Consider: the government has been buying millions upon millions of rounds of ammunition since last Fall, and no one noticed anything odd then; it has only been since Sandy Hook that the stores cannot keep stuff in stock.
Serious questions need to be asked about who the agencies are buying the ammunition, what types, what they are using them for, and (let us not forget) how much this has been costing us. But a huge piece of the problem has been us civilians panic-buying.
And even the local cops can’t keep up.