Ammunition purchases and Homeland Security

The following email from a Kansas Representative may be of interest if you have been following the controversy about Homeland Security purchasing huge quantities of ammunition.
As is typically the case, things are never as bad or as good as first reported. The underlying problem seems to be that opacity, covert operations and obfuscation have become so ingrained in the Obama administration to the point that even when candor and openness would serve them far better, these are still employed.
While there does not appear to be any attempt to amass stockpiles of weapons/ammunition, I still feel that my suggestion to require all ammunition, weapons, and armored vehicle acquisition by the Federal Government to be through the appropriate DoD agency to prevent any "surprises," empire building, and estop any efforts to create armed forces outside the military chain of command and subject to the UCMJ should be implemented.
Please feel free to repost to appropriate/concerned newsgroups, but delete rec.craftsa.metalworking and alt.machines.cnc from the newgroup list to avoid unnecessary "noise" here.
===== Reply from Representative Pompeo ===     
Dear Dr. McDuffee:
Thank you for contacting me regarding ammunition purchases by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I had many of the same questions over the Department's action.
According to the latest publicly available contracts, DHS solicited bids for 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition over the next five years. These contracts are not purchases, but rather lock in the price, specifications, delivery costs, and other requirements for the period of performance. They are regularly placed in bulk and fall within the Department's historical average. DHS buys approximately 120 million rounds of ammunition per year of all calibers and types and fires approximately the same number of rounds per year, almost exclusively in training.
DHS contains some of the country's largest federal law enforcement agencies, including Customs and Border Protection. Furthermore, more than 90 agencies and 70,000 agents used the Department's Federal Law Enforcement Training Center last year. These agents are required to qualify four times each year on any weapon issued to them.
While I support providing law enforcement officials with the equipment they need to keep us safe from harm, I will not accept further federal government restriction of the rights of law-abiding individuals to keep and bear arms. Our Founding Fathers considered this right important enough to include it in the Bill of Rights and regarded gun ownership as a personal, fundamental right. We must address a culture that considers life cheap and violence an easy answer.
If you have any additional concerns, please do not hesitate to call on me or Mike Netherton of my Washington, D.C. staff. It is an honor to serve the people of Kansas in the United States Congress.
Sincerely,
Mike Pompeo Member of Congress
===== end of reply from Representative Pompeo ===
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On Sat, 13 Apr 2013 19:53:29 -0500, F. George McDuffee

So in other words..they are "locking the price" for ammo for 10 yrs.
Gee...I wonder how many other government agencies get a 10 yr lock in price.
Fascinating indeed. So if they are not buying all that ammo and stock piling it...where the hell is it?
Gunner
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On Sat, 13 Apr 2013 21:34:25 -0700, Gunner Asch

<snip>
Good question.
It appears that what we are talking about is more in the nature of a commodity futures contract or call option rather than any physical quantity of ammunition, i.e. it has not yet been produced and the "contracts" (with unknown terms and conditions) are for future production/delivery.
The major reason for the current consumer ammunition/component shortage appears to be panic consumer buying and hoarding, although this does not explain the apparent lack of imports such as Russian/Chinese 7.62X39, other than their stocks of outdated/surplus ammunition have been exhausted on the one hand, and these countries no longer are in such desperate need of foreign exchange they feel the need to dispose of assets at fire sale prices on the other.
The recent domestic consumer price hikes appear to be the capitalistic pricing practice of getting what the market will bear in action, and there does not appear to have been any additional governmental government ammunition/component import restrictions imposed.
The domestic ammunition/component manufacturers are to be commended for refusing to expand production capacity in a de-stabilizing knee jerk reaction to meet what is sure to be a one time demand spike, although most likely running at 100% of existing capacity.
To put this in perspective it is helpful to recall the great US toilet paper shortage of 1973. http://thelongestlistofthelongeststuffatthelongestdomainnameatlonglast.com/trivia74.html
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wrote:

http://thelongestlistofthelongeststuffatthelongestdomainnameatlonglast.com/trivia74.html

2 years ago every shop in my town building shot gun molds suddenly got them dropped, many in mid production. Up to that point its been a mad rush to build as many high cavitation molds at as many shops in town as possible. I knew of 6 shops building them, now there is none.
Maybe its related, maybe not. We got no explanation of why this mad rush suddenly stopped in mid production.
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wrote:

Shotgun molds? Slugs and shot?
Most of the ammo being produced ....according to my sources..is in "war" calibers. Shotgun slugs are not in that arena.
Now granted...guys are buying cases of ammo..but few are buying cases of commerically made ammo. Its simply too expensive even during the normal times. Its like everybody owns a machine gun and has bought everything on the market that will go into one. And there arent that many legal machine guns in private hands.
It is indeed..interesting
Gunner
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wrote:

gun wad. the wadding is molded. 96 cavities, 9 second shot, 24/7/365 One ready to bolt to the press in less than 10 minutes if production stops. rows of these things man. Who the hell is shooting all those shotgun shells? Gator hunters?
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wrote:

Depends on the type..but trap and skeet shooters will go through a hundred -200 a day each with no sweat.
Gunner
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On Sun, 14 Apr 2013 07:27:52 -0500, F. George McDuffee

I think that Gunner is asking about where all the ammo is *now*.
First, the ammo that DHS is contracting for hasn't been manufactured yet.
Sceond, the ammo that's not on the shelves is being hoarded by paranoid gun nutz from sea to shining sea.
I spoke with one of the plant managers at Remington's Arkansas plant about two weeks ago. She said they're running three shifts, making ammo like never before. And, as far as she's heard, the wholesalers are not sitting on it. It's all going to retail, where gun nutz are buying it up as fast as it hits the shelves. Some retailers aren't getting any of it. That appears to be a matter of how the wholesale distributors are rationing it to certain retailers.
--
Ed Huntress


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Ed Huntress wrote:

Actually, pretty much all of the current shortage is due to new first time gun owners who have been pushed off the fence by the attacks from the rabid anti-gun minority and are now joining the ranks of the pro-gun majority. No long time gun owners I know have been buying anything recently and indeed some have been selling some surplus for a profit.
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wrote:

This seems very unlikely:
http://www.people-press.org/2013/03/12/section-3-gun-ownership-trends-and-demographics/
Do you have some data that supports these ideas, or is it anecdotes?
--
Ed Huntress




> No long time gun owners I know have been buying anything
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Ed Huntress wrote:

http://www.people-press.org/2013/03/12/section-3-gun-ownership-trends-and-demographics/

I have more data than they have to support that bogus propaganda claim. I have the various former non gun owners who have asked me for advice on what to buy. I have the reports from other gun owners I know who have received the same questions from former non gun owners. There are also reports from gun shop owners indicating the same.
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wrote:

I'd be willing to bet that fewer people are letting others know that they have a gun in today's increasingly Fascist society. Most of the new gun sales are going to previously gunless buyers.

Ditto here. Even a (waning) pro-Obama Democrat family member asked me about getting a pistol for their safety. I recommended that they also look into prepping for the worst. They don't like the signs, either. I'm waiting for weather to warm enough to plant the largest garden I've ever had. Heirloom seeds, so I can save them year after year.
--
A sound mind in a sound body is a short but full description
of a happy state in this world.
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wrote:

Oh, that's impressive, Pete. Pew Research Center is generally considered the least-biased, and one of the best, research organizations in the world. For you to have more data than they do, and to have the skills to project from your buddies and the people who ask you for advice to the entire country is quite a skill.
Not.
--
Ed Huntress

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Ed Huntress wrote:

The data is crap. When the data is crap the bias or lack thereof of the researchers is irrelevant.
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wrote:

And your anecdotes are the anti-crap, I suppose.
It's likely that more guns have been sold to first-time buyers lately, but the number, in relation to the number of gun owners already out there, probably is a lot smaller than you seem to think.
But what's really wacky is the idea that they're buying up all the ammo. It's probably all gun owners. One interesting comment from a gun store, published somewhere over the last few weeks, is that ammo buyers are asking for one caliber; when they can't get it, they ask for another caliber; some move on to a third or fourth, and when they can't get that, they start asking for shotgun shells.
How many first-time buyers do you think go out and buy three or four guns right off the bat? Those are established gun owners, who have at least several guns.
--
Ed Huntress

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Ed Huntress wrote:

It probably isn't since it's causing an extreme shortage in the marketplace despite the manufacturers operating three shifts. The forums I follow have plenty of people from around the country and all are reporting the same thing.
I'll also note that the flawed data for the analysis you linked did not originate from Pew, it came from other less reputable sources and is also stale. The key problem that data doesn't address is the fact that a very large percentage of the population does not participate in polls at all and those that do don't provide accurate information.

Of course it's gun owners, the millions of new gun owners who need ammo for their first time gun purchases.

This seems to be the work of some "scalpers" trying to speculate on the market, waiting in line at stores to buy ammo in hopes of reselling it for a profit. They are soon going to find themselves with ammo they have to unload at a loss since the market seems to be starting to normalize again.

Nope, those are the scalpers again. There aren't many of them since most of these scalpers don't have real employment if they can wait in line every morning at the stores and thus most scalpers have been limited to less expensive ammunition rather than actual firearms.
It has also been noted that the scalpers who have been buying $900 ARs at Wal-Mart to try to resell for $1,500 are likely committing felonies since they are not FFLs and they are purchasing for the express purpose of reselling rather than for personal use.
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wrote:

All of these anecdotes are interesting, but you're engaging in a lot of speculation about who is buying the ammo. That's typical of these discussions. Everybody has a theory, but few have any data to back it up.
So we'll wait and see how it shakes out. From some investment reports, big players are selling gun stocks because they think they're near a peak and it can't be sustained much longer. But they had a nice run.
--
Ed Huntress

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Ed Huntress wrote:

Ultimately nobody has any solid data, and those polls have the least valid data of them all. Most people don't participate in polls to begin with, and those that are security conscious and thus more likely to own firearms are less likely still. The minority gun ownership is underrepresented since many in those communities get their guns through illegal sales simply because they don't know how to buy one legitimately, much like many in those communities have no experience with fine dining (a subject noted on NPR recently due to a project that was educating urban youth so they wouldn't be out of their element at a business lunch).

I peaked with the first Obummer election and then subsided, peaked again with Obummer2 and then subsided, now it peaked again with the renewed attacks by the anti-gun minority and it's showing signs of subsiding again. Each one of those events has significantly expanded gun ownership, making the rabid anti-gunners an even smaller minority.
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wrote:

It's clear you've decided what information is convincing to you, Pete, so there's no point in discussing it further. Once someone dismisses Pew Research as "crap," or swallows the anecdotes and wishful thinking of people with an interest in propagandizing about trends in gun ownership even though it flies in the face of one of the largest, most thorough, and most respected surveys ever done (the General Social Survey), there's no point.
I've been involved in survey research since the '70s, first with TV license-renewal studies, and then for years with marketing research, and I know it's fruitless to talk to people who have their minds made up about top-level poll and survey companies producing "crap."
So carry on.
--
Ed Huntress

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Ed Huntress wrote:

There has been no Pew research presented, only Pew analysis of the flawed polls conducted by others.

Sorry bud, that GSS survey is simply flawed, which is one reason it doesn't square with other polls.

I'm afraid you're stuck in the mentality that these "social" surveys follow the same rules as those of product / market research, and this assumption is deeply flawed. With product / market research those being polled have no interest in protecting anything private, there are no personal security implications to whether you use dish detergent X or watch TV show Y, and those being polled are often compensated for their time. When you get into "social" research personal security and privacy come into play and the quality of the data you receive declines drastically. Many people simply won't participate at all, especially since "social" research polls usually don't provide compensation, and for those that do participate they will typically provide less than truthful information on anything that should be private.
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