The House of Representatives passed an amendment to HR 2217 – the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2014 – that forbids DHS from purchasing any more ammunition until they report to Congress on their previous ammunition purchases. The amendment passed Tuesday with a bi-partisan majority of 234-192. The amendment was proposed, I’m happy to report, by my Congressman, Rep. Mark Meadows (D-NC11).
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) proposed an amendment to the DHS spending bill for 2014 that would require the report to Congress before it can pursue plans to buy 1.1 billion rounds of ammunition. Meadows said the speed bump is a necessary reaction to news of the huge purchase, which alarmed many Americans and prompted conservative groups to suspect that the government was stocking up on the rounds to fight citizens.
“Given this large purchase, the American people and members of Congress rightfully had concerns and questions,” Meadows said. “This is a responsible amendment which ensures that Congress and the American people are aware of the necessity and the cost of ammunition prior to entering into new contracts for procurement.”
This amendment was opposed by Rep. John Carter (R-TX) who is Chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Appropriations who said it was unnecessary based upon his talks with DHS officials and that it would interrupt the regular procurement process at DHS. I guess he means their solicitation for 30-30 Winchester and .45 Long Colt (sic) ammunition.
Rep. Meadows had more to say on the issue in this release:
A provision of H.R. 2217 requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to submit a report to Congress detailing its ammunition purchases by the time the president submits his next budget. Meadows’ amendment complements this reporting provision by prohibiting DHS from entering into a new contract for ammunition purchases until the report is submitted to Congress.
“Over the past year, many questions have been raised about vast purchases of ammunition by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS),” Meadows said. “Earlier this year, we learned that DHS solicited bids for 1.1 billion rounds of ammunition. This is more than ten times the amount that the department purchased in fiscal year 2012. Given current inventory, DHS has nearly 4,000 rounds for each employee trained and certified in firearms use.
“Constituents of the 11th District have repeatedly voiced their concerns to me about these purchases. Prior to committing taxpayer dollars for ammunition contracts, we must ensure that government agencies justify the necessity and cost to both Congress and the American people.”
The amendment passed the House with bipartisan support by a vote of 234-192.
I might have gone further than Rep. Meadows and included a provision that DHS have to buy their ammo over the counter at Walmart or their local gun shop. Oh, and they would have to abide by the usual limitations on purchases that the rest of us do including no more than 3 boxes of ammo per day at a time.