The Governmental Accountability Office (GAO), Congress’ financial investigative and auditing agency, has gotten involved in the controversy over the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) massive buy-up of firearms ammunition.
In an interview with U.S. News,GAO spokesman Chuck Young said the investigation is “just getting underway.” Presumably at the behest of one or more Congressmen, the GAO will investigate the reasoning behind the alleged purchase of anywhere between 750 million and 1.6 billion (depends on whom you ask) rounds of ammunition.
The high figure is enough bullets to have prolonged the George W. Bush-era Iraq war for 20 additional years; the low figure — which DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano swears by — is still enough to keep the fighting going for about a decade.
Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Representative Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) separately introduced a new piece of legislation last week in each house of Congress that, if passed, would force DHS and other Federal agencies (except for the Department of Defense) to submit to GAO accounting of its ammunition purchases, particularly as they may affect the supply and cost of ammunition to the general public.
Named the AMMO Act, the bill would also restrict any agency (except for the Department of Defense) from ordering additional ammunition for six months whenever its existing stockpile of ammo exceeds the average monthly amount it was maintaining before President Barack Obama began his first term in office.
Citing his Oklahoma constituents’ complaints that ammunition for civilians is in very short supply, Inhofe said the AMMO Act would curb DHS and other civilian agencies from hording ammo and would require them to make routine Congressional reports that justify their need for the bullets they do purchase:
President Obama has been adamant about curbing law-abiding Americans’ access and opportunities to exercise their Second Amendment rights. One way the Obama Administration is able to do this is by limiting what’s available in the market with federal agencies purchasing unnecessary stockpiles of ammunition. As the public learned in a House committee hearing this week, the Department of Homeland Security has two years worth of ammo on hand and allots nearly 1,000 more rounds of ammunition for DHS officers than is used on average by our Army officers. The AMMO Act of 2013 will enforce transparency and accountability of federal agencies’ ammunition supply while also protecting law-abiding citizens access to these resources.