Homeland Security buying pricey ammo as department-wide cuts take hold

by Perry Chiaramonte, FOXNews.com  |  published on March 31, 2013

ammo

The Department of Homeland Security is spending more and more on pricey hollow-point bullets for law-enforcement officers — even as it plans to enforce furloughs and other cuts on Customs and Border Protection employees due to sequestration.

The Department of Homeland Security plans to buy more than 1.6 billion rounds over the next five years for training and on-duty purposes. They cite the numerous law enforcement agencies contained within the department with employees who carry weapons. But the purchases have led to criticism that the agency is spending money on bullets that can cost twice as much as regular ammo — and questions over whether those bullets are really needed for training purposes.

“Obviously you want to know how a hollow point is going to cycle through your weapon,” Scott McCurley, manager for Maryland-based Horst and McCann firing range and a former soldier for the U.S. Army, told FoxNews.com. “But I don’t think there’s much of a difference when training. One box of rounds per gun is enough. The cost outweighs the purpose.”

It’s unclear how many of the total rounds sought would be hollow-point, but a recent solicitation specifically called for 360,000 rounds of hollow-point bullets.

Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J., who last week wrote a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano asking about the rationale for the purchases, also questioned the cost.

“With sequestration in effect, and the federal debt approaching a record $17 trillion, members of Congress like Leonard Lance believe our federal government should not be spending taxpayer dollars on the stockpiling of billions of rounds of ammunition,” his chief of staff Todd Mitchell said in a statement to FoxNews.com. “That’s why it’s important for DHS officials to explain the need and foundation for this acquisition.”

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