Green Room

Social Security Administration expects to need a lot more ammo in … New Hampshire?

posted at 5:43 pm on August 16, 2012 by

(How often do you get to check both the “Guns” and “Social Security” categories for a post at Hot Air?)

The Blaze has a story today on the Social Security Administration (SSA) soliciting bids on 174,000 rounds of .357 125 grain bonded jacket hollow point (JHP) bullets.

The Blaze cites Gun Blast on the “stopping power” of the .357 125-grain JHP round, and provides links to earlier ammo purchases by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which had also caught the eye of “Federal Business Opportunities” (FBO) watchers.

(According to the Washington Post, the 46,000-round solicitation for NOAA’s National Weather Service was the result of a “clerical error.”  The ammo is intended for the NOAA Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement, not for the Weather Service.  This makes sense, although fisheries violators had better watch out, since the ammo in question is the Smith & Wesson .40 caliber 180-grain JHP round.)

For the SSA solicitation, deliveries will be to the resident agents in charge of the SSA Inspector General’s regional (and some subregional) Offices of Investigations.  The Blaze has the link to the list of recipients for the SSA ammo solicitation.  It’s an Excel spreadsheet; please use the Blaze link to pull it up if you want to check it out.  (It can also be found at the FBO site at the solicitation page.  Look at the bottom of the RFQ block for “Delivery locations.”)

I wondered first of all why Manchester, New Hampshire needed more rounds than any other office listed in the document.  Manchester is shown as receiving 15,000 rounds of the .357 125-grain JHP.   Los Angeles, Iselin, NJ, and Richmond, VA each get 10,000 rounds, although no borough of New York City is apparently to receive any rounds from this purchase.  Chicago gets 6,000 rounds, as do Cleveland and Houston.  Oklahoma City gets 8,000.  Fairfield, CA – a small Napa Valley burg with a population of 105,000, in rural Solano County, pop. 413,000 – gets 5,000 rounds, the same as Philadelphia.  What exactly is going on here?

The address for the ammo delivery in New Hampshire is for the Inspector General’s Office of Investigations in Manchester, and the point of contact for the ammo delivery, Mr. Stueart Markley, is the resident agent in charge.  Looking at the recipient addresses in the Excel spreadsheet, all of them show the recipient as “SSA/OIG/OI,” or Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations.

SSA’s OIG does criminal investigations (into Social Security fraud), and presumably, as implied in its recruiting material, its investigators are armed federal officers.  What kind of firefights it may be preparing for is an interesting question.  Is New Hampshire expected to be the center of a Social Security-related shooting crisis?  Will things be worse in Napa Valley and central Oklahoma than in Houston or Chicago?  Was there already plenty of ammo in the major cities that aren’t getting much, like Charleston, WV (1,000) and Pittsburgh (2,000)?

It doesn’t look like the ammo is going to the field offices of the Social Security Administration, which in many cases are located miles away from the federal buildings in which the Office of Investigations hangs out.  Some offices may be co-located, but it looks on the face of it like this arm-up is related to criminal investigations, and not to crowd control at the customer-service counter.  It makes one wonder why the danger of these investigations is apparently expected to, as it were, shoot upward.

J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at The Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions,Patheos, The Weekly Standard online, and her own blog, The Optimistic Conservative.

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Comments

One wonders, if these articles are true about all the ammo being bought by the feds, is to get the ammo off the market for those who might want to buy it?

I know nothing about ammo, but aren’t hollow points illegal to use any longer in the event of ‘war’? At least that what I have read? Something is not just quite right here if all these buys by the feds are correct?
L

letget on August 16, 2012 at 6:00 PM

I hope it is for training and distribution based on personnel. If they are going to be armed they need to be proficient with the arms they carry. That means shooting lots of the ammo that is carried in your firearm. I wonder who is supplying the cleaning supplies?

yenober on August 16, 2012 at 6:06 PM

Train with the stuff you carry, I imagine. Not really a story, imho.

TexasDan on August 16, 2012 at 6:10 PM

I would have automatically agreed with yenober and TexasDan (that this isn’t a story) a couple of years ago.

It may not be, but we have reached the point in our national history where the federal government does have to explain itself, and should.

I wrote this at my home blog as well: government should be better armed than criminals, but the wildly excessive amount of activity government engages in today creates lots and lots of opportunities for criminal behavior that wouldn’t exist otherwise.

I don’t want more and more armed officers of the federal government running around. I want less and less reason for having them.

If this ammo had been ordered by the Kansas City police department, I wouldn’t bat an eye. But there’s a fine line between government investigating fraud and government finding reasons to arm officers and act with suspicion toward the people. We’re too close to crossing that line, and the remedy is for government to do less and have fewer armed federal officers running around.

J.E. Dyer on August 16, 2012 at 6:21 PM

Give me a break. These are relatively minuscule amounts of ammo, not even enough for a department to effectively practice with. Keep the tinfoil hat stuff out of the conservative realm.

jwally on August 16, 2012 at 6:42 PM

I have been seeing inane hysteria about this for days. It’s not unusual, either in timing or in amount, it’s a tiny fraction of everyday production, it’s not going to prevent anyone else from getting it, and it’s not unusual in type either.

The DOJ supplied weapons to freaking narco-terrorists and *this* worries you? Woo-hoo.

When agencies actually *do* things wrong, like if the D of Education is running around acting like a SWAT team to force kids on Ritalin, or Fisheries starts kidnapping people or whatever, I hope people would be all over that news.

But agencies that *do* have armed personnel making sure they get practice is not a bad thing. I wouldn’t argue against the contention that there should be less of them, but freaking out over normal ammunition purchases is just… kind of lame.

Also, “Smith and Wesson .40 caliber” is just a clumsy way of saying “.40 S&W caliber.” Smith & Wesson isn’t making the ammunition, they co-designed the cut-down 10mm cartridge along with Winchester in the 80s.

Merovign on August 16, 2012 at 7:36 PM

It’s really simple, the SSA is expecting to see more old angry white people who are upset with them and will need to defend themselves against granma and granpa, it’s a jungle out there!

bigmike on August 16, 2012 at 8:40 PM

Merovign on August 16, 2012 at 7:36 PM

I suggest you open your mind to the larger question. How many armed federal agents, doing what, do we need in this country? No, it’s not perfectly OK that every time you look under a federal agency there’s someone carrying a gun.

In what relation is our federal government supposed to stand to us? Does it really need to be doing so many things that cause federal agents to have to practice shooting guns and carry them for a living?

J.E. Dyer on August 16, 2012 at 8:48 PM

SSA is going broke, the solution, for this regime is to hunt down old people.

Hey, if Paul Ryan dumps old people off a cliff . . .

rbj on August 16, 2012 at 8:50 PM

Wow. Look at all the sheep responses here.

Dante on August 16, 2012 at 10:37 PM

Really? Now you’re going to filter out websites?

Dante on August 16, 2012 at 10:48 PM

J.E., seriously, there are a minuscule amount of Federal Agents in the US. Especially relative to armed citizens, if that’s where you’re going with all this paranoia.
Question: if Romney wins, will all these armed and practiced Feds be ok with you?

I normally really do like what you write, but this is just silliness. Leave this kind of stuff to the libs.

jwally on August 16, 2012 at 11:04 PM

The Blaze cites Gun Blast on the “stopping power” of the .357 125-grain JHP round

I kinda chuckled at that one myself. I mean for Pete’s sake, the whole point of carrying a Magnum is to like actually use full powered rounds!

At BEST, 125 grains is pretty dang lite for a .357 (unless it’s for a 3″ or less barreled weapon) and I sure as hell hope its not for regular carry…maybe as a “Don’t flinch when you fire” training round?

My own carry I don’t use anything lower than 140, and I prefer 158…because when I use it, i want to stop them, not play Tickle Me Elmo with them…

BlaxPac on August 16, 2012 at 11:30 PM

Our armed forces cannot use jacketed hollow point bullets. Under international law, they are illegal to use by any military. The reason is the damage they do to the human body is horrendous. The military has to use a full metal jacket round which will pass through a body without the expansion of a hollow point. Not a good idea to get hit with either, but the FMJ leaves a better chance of survival.

My question is, why is it that our government agencies need such devastating rounds. Who are they going to shoot besides us citizens? Us citizens who evidently have fewer protections than enemy combatants.

WestTexasBirdDog on August 16, 2012 at 11:42 PM

These people are crazy, power mad, nuts. That is all there is to it. A government gone nuts with no moderation at all.

pat on August 17, 2012 at 2:34 AM

Ok, let’s try this again another way:

Link 1

Link 2

Link 3

Wake up, people

Dante on August 17, 2012 at 8:20 AM

One wonders, if these articles are true about all the ammo being bought by the feds, is to get the ammo off the market for those who might want to buy it?

I know nothing about ammo, but aren’t hollow points illegal to use any longer in the event of ‘war’? At least that what I have read? Something is not just quite right here if all these buys by the feds are correct?
L

letget on August 16, 2012 at 6:00 PM

It sure seems like it.

The Geneva Convention does prohibit hollow-point rounds because the wounds they tend to inflict are “inhumane” or something. Of course, the 5.56x45mm NATO round is designed to replicate the effects of a hollow-point bullet, though the yaw effect in soft tissue that does so is dependent on a sufficiently-high impact velocity.

Notwithstanding the Geneva Convention’s ban on military use, hollow-point bullets are highly desirable for both law enforcement and personal securty because they have a far lesser change of going through the target and hitting something or someone else.

Steve Eggleston on August 17, 2012 at 8:21 AM

A few years ago, I would have filed this under “needs more tinfoil,” but now, I just don’t know. Obama promised us a ‘civilian national security force’. What ever happened to that? He hasn’t exactly been known to use straight forward legislation to achieve his aims. Bulking up and arming little known law enforcement branches within federal agencies definitely sounds a little spooky. I mean, this guy sold 3000 weapons to the Sinaloa. What else is he capable of?

bitsy on August 17, 2012 at 9:13 AM

Maybe the whole thing was a clerical error. Some clerk watching porn on his free Obamaphone orders the hollow points instead of hollow pens. If they’re trying to catch up to the ammo bought by private citizens, they’re still way behind. Like national debt behind.

Kissmygrits on August 17, 2012 at 9:25 AM

Lots of bears in New Hampshire. Maybe they want extra ammo for the Bear Patrol?

livefreerdie on August 17, 2012 at 9:44 AM

Train with the stuff you carry, I imagine. Not really a story, imho.

TexasDan on August 16, 2012 at 6:10 PM

Give me a break. These are relatively minuscule amounts of ammo, not even enough for a department to effectively practice with. Keep the tinfoil hat stuff out of the conservative realm.

jwally on August 16, 2012 at 6:42 PM

For the SSA buy…174,000 rounds for 295 agents. Fewer than 600 rounds per. Barely a good day at the firing range.

kbTexan on August 17, 2012 at 10:14 AM

The ammo is intended for the NOAA Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement…

Then is it any wonder the procurement smells so fishy.

petefrt on August 17, 2012 at 10:36 AM

For the SSA buy…174,000 rounds for 295 agents. Fewer than 600 rounds per. Barely a good day at the firing range.

kbTexan on August 17, 2012 at 10:14 AM

You think they actually spend time at the range?

Steve Eggleston on August 17, 2012 at 11:52 AM

Just showing up in my Twitter timeline, filed under “Things That Make One Say, ‘Hmmmmm.’” – Social Security Admin Buys 174,000 Hollow Point Bullets: Border Patrol Armed With Bean Bags

Steve Eggleston on August 17, 2012 at 12:43 PM

Then is it any wonder the procurement smells so fishy.

petefrt on August 17, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Oh, well if the government says so, it must be true.

Dante on August 17, 2012 at 12:59 PM

To add to the fray, I’m quoting a reader at my home blog, and will then quote my response to him:

(Reader MarcH)

Although I have used firearms in my work, I’m no great expert and have no idea whether these rounds are only appropriate for revolvers. The SIG 229 which I was issued fired .357 hollow-point rounds. In my experience all contemporary federal LW agencies issue semi-autos with hollow-point ammo to their special agents.

I used to know a Hover-era warhorse in the FBI who was “grandfathered” to carry a revolver (usually the classic FBI issue S&W Model 13 w/3-inch barrel in .357 Mag) as a primary weapon. Snub nose five shot revolvers were also often approved to be carried as back-ups. To the best of my knowledge, revolvers are no longer authorized in the FBI and I expect the new breed of young, computer savy, casual-dress- on-Friday special agents would look on them as horse and buggy stuff. If I may, I recall one war story from the 1970s about preparations for a big multi-agency/multi-office take down of a politically oriented organized crime group on an Indian reservation. The bad guys were known to have all sorts of high powered weapons while agents had very limited armament (this was pre “Miami shootout – http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2011/april/miami_041111”). In the pre-raid operations memo it was a very big deal that the Bureau hierarchy had included the line “speed loaders are authorized”.

This has become quite the discussion. I think it is agreed that a large ammo purchase in NH is not indicative of nefarious activity, and the real question should be, “is the federal government so bloated that there are also too many federal law enforcement officers”?

Obviously that’s a political question and for my part I’m all for a significant decrease in the size of the federal government.

I do take exception to the reference to “agents of the government pointing guns at us” and other similar stuff, as it suggests that federal agents are thugs or fascists. I spent a fair number of years as a federal agent and then had three tours as an embedded advisor to U.S. Army commanders and staff in Iraq and Afghanistan. My impression is that both sets have an impressively large number of dedicated public servants who frequently go “In Harm’s Way” to protect the general public and carry their oaths to “protect and defend the Constitution” with the greatest seriousness.

J.E. Dyer on August 17, 2012 at 1:08 PM

My response to MarcH:

MarcH — it is of concern to an honest, law-abiding citizen when anyone working for the government is carrying a gun. We can all agree that there are reasons for it, and I am second to none in my admiration of the police, highway patrol, FBI, and other federal agents who, as you say, frequently go “In Harm’s Way” to protect the general public and carry their oaths to “protect and defend the Constitution” with the greatest seriousness.

But we no longer live in an America in which we should shrug and not worry that there are federal agents carrying guns working for the Social Security Administration. This isn’t about the character of the agents, it’s about what the government is doing: its policies and its view of the citizens.

Social Security was a flawed idea and it went bad almost immediately. It was never a “saving for retirement” program, but always a money transfer program. SSA spits out hundreds of billions of dollars in benefits every year, which makes it a prime target for fraud. But it’s not like a bank or a grocery store, which naturally, voluntarily arise among the people because they meet daily needs. SSA is an artificial creation of the government. If government hadn’t created it, no one else would have, because it can’t pay for itself and no one would think it was a good idea if only his own money were at issue.

America is not better for the existence of this program, which attracts so many thieves (and illegals, for that matter). And the nation is not better for the additional armed agents considered necessary solely because of the policy of having the Social Security program.

How many other federal civil programs require armed administration (e.g., the NOAA fisheries enforcement arm)? And why does each department need its own agents armed with .357 JHP or .40 S&W JHP?

Again, I stress that this isn’t about the agents themselves. I’ve known a number of them myself, and always thought highly of them. It’s about government doing so many things — having so many coercive regulations and policies — that its leadership sees more and more reasons for arming agents against the people.

If government did less — the federal government in particular — it wouldn’t see a need for so much armament. Even agents who are armed would not burst into a man’s house and hold him at gunpoint on behalf of the Department of Education (!):

http://michellemalkin.com/2011/06/08/dept-of-education/

I’m sure the members of that team were fine men of good character, but government — and the federal goverrnment in particular — has no business relating to the people in this manner. It is, without caveat or qualification, a very bad thing that our federal government has and executes such policies.

J.E. Dyer on August 17, 2012 at 1:09 PM

BlaxPac on August 16, 2012 at 11:30 PM

The 125grain, .357 that they are referring to is the .357Sig; for auto pistols, which only comes in 125grain loads.
Supposedly, it matches the 125grain .357Magnum load in lethality and stopping power.

Solaratov on August 17, 2012 at 3:42 PM

BlaxPac on August 16, 2012 at 11:30 PM

And, btw, the 125grain .357Magnum load is rated – in actual use – as the number one one-shot-stopper extant.
I, too, prefer the heavier bullets – but it’s hard to argue with actual, real-life results. And I doubt that anyone who takes that 125grain load center-mass is going to feel “tickled”.

Solaratov on August 17, 2012 at 3:48 PM

I do take exception to the reference to “agents of the government pointing guns at us” and other similar stuff, as it suggests that federal agents are thugs or fascists.

LOL. Poor, deluded b*tard. That is exactly what they are.

Dante on August 17, 2012 at 3:48 PM

I suggest you open your mind to the larger question. How many armed federal agents, doing what, do we need in this country? No, it’s not perfectly OK that every time you look under a federal agency there’s someone carrying a gun.

J.E. Dyer on August 16, 2012 at 8:48 PM

I thought I would come back to personally thank you for not bothering to read what I wrote, especially the part where I specifically agreed with that point.

I suggest you open your mind to reading comments you’re replying to.

Merovign on August 17, 2012 at 8:43 PM

I don’t trust Alex Jones. I also don’t trust the gov’t. Rock and a hard place.

I’ll be carefully watchful until more information emerges. Keep us posted, J.E.

Grace_is_sufficient on August 17, 2012 at 9:46 PM

The better question is, why do we have separate armed agencies under the Fish & Wildlife Service, or especially under the Social Security Administration? Do we not have Federal Marshals and FBI agents and the Secret Service and the Border Patrol to handle law enforcement? On top of the State and local agencies, that is?

What possible justification is there for arming the bureaucracy?

Blacksmith on August 18, 2012 at 1:03 AM

This is why there is a Second Amendment, and why it is such a great safeguard against tyranny.

Don’t know who the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is, but they estimate that about 1/3rd of New Hampshire residents are gun owners. If the state population is 1.3 million, that means that there about 430,000 firearms throughout the state… representing millions of rounds of ammo.

174,000 rounds in the hands of federal agents pales in comparison.

VastRightWingConspirator on August 18, 2012 at 11:33 AM