But ICE, in particular, is home to the National Firearms Tactical Training Unit, which also provides armory services (that is, guns and ammunition) to the Federal Protective Service, Customs and Border Protection and Federal Air Marshalls – more than 60,000 personnel all told. And contracting data shows that in 2012 alone, the division bought $11.3m-worth of just .40-caliber ammunition off just one similar contract with Federal Cartridge Company – a wholly-owned subsidiary of ATK. In addition, in 2007, ATK signed a five-year contract with DHS worth up to $90m for ammunition for ICE and the US Coast Guard.
Besides those purchases, Glenn Beck‘s the Blaze, which trumpeted the potential conspiracy in its headline, noted that that large ammunition purchases are not unusual for the department – which signed a contract in 2009 with Winchester for 200m rounds of .40-caliber hollow points. And with law enforcement agencies around the country finding it harder to source handgun ammunition like the .40-caliber bullets in the DHS/ICE contract because of increased demand from consumers – which is itself a result of scare-mongering by conservatives concerned that the Obama government is getting ready to take away their guns and ammunition – it only makes sense for large law enforcement consumers to try to lock in their supply, even if signing a new contract for each purchase were a realistic option.
So, will private citizens find higher prices or short supply the next time they go to stock up on .40-caliber ammunition? Possibly. But that’s the law of the free market: when demand goes up and supply stays more or less the same, prices go up.
There’s no logic behind wanting the borders patrolled more militantly and bemoaning the supposed dissolution of the free enterprise system under Obama – while simultaneously finding conspiracies behind the ultimate end results of both those positions. But at this point, there’s no point in asking for logic when it comes to conspiracy notions about the Obama administration.
• Neither DHS nor ATK responded to multiple requests for comment. This article was produced in association with The Guardian.
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Megan Carpentier is the executive editor of Raw Story. She previously served as an associate editor at Talking Points Memo; the editor of news and politics at Air America; an editor at Jezebel.com; and an associate editor at Wonkette. Her published works include pieces for the Washington Post, the Washington Independent, Ms Magazine, RH Reality Check, the Women's Media Center, On the Issues, the New York Press, Bitch and Women's eNews.
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