Q&A on the News

Q: There have been numerous reports in the press about shortages of various types of ammunition. Is it possible this shortage is related to the billions of rounds of ammo purchased by the Department of Homeland Security?

— Sy Richards, Atlanta

A: Several U.S. Congressmen, including Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J., and Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., have inquired about the quantity of ammunition that DHS has bought and ordered. DHS has solicited bids for between 1.1 and 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition over the next five years, according to media reports, a decision that Inhofe called an "intentional" effort by President Barack Obama's administration to "dry up the market" for gun-owning citizens. "President Obama has been doing everything he could to stop the private ownership of guns in America," Inhofe told WABC radio in New York. DHS issued this statement in March: "DHS routinely establishes strategic sourcing contracts that combine the requirements of all its components for commonly purchased goods and services such as ammunition, computer equipment and information technology services. These strategic sourcing contracts help leverage the purchasing power of DHS to efficiently procure equipment and supplies." DHS officials also have said the amount of ammo is an estimate and doesn't mean the department plans to purchase that amount. DHS bought 148 million rounds for its more than 100,000 officers and agents in 2012, U.S. News & World Report reported. Inhofe has sponsored the Ammunition Management for More Obtainability – or AMMO – Act that is designed to "limit the amount of ammunition purchased or possessed by certain federal agencies for a six-month period." Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., has sponsored a similar bill in the House.

Andy Johnston wrote this column. Do you have a question about the news? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).