Dumb and Dum-Dumer: Homeland Security Orders Huge Delivery of Hollow Point Bullets As Part of Military Buildup

DeptHomelandSec220px-JSP_and_JHP_bulletsFor months, conservatives and conspiracy theorists have been flogging a story of a huge arms buildup within the Department of Homeland Security. I was a bit taken aback by the purchase of roughly 2 billion rounds by the DHS as well as a report of the purchase of 2700 light-armored vehicles. However, it seemed like the coverage was over-wrought and that such bulk purchases could be viewed as efficient contracting to get the lowest possible price. Yet, now the DHS has reportedly ordered 360,000 addition rounds of hollow tip bullets (sometimes called Dum-Dum bullets) in addition to huge prior orders. I do not understand why such an arsenal has to be created within this one agency, particularly the use of these bullets designed to maximize damage to the human body.


DHS put out a call to purchase 360,000 rounds of “Commercial leaded training ammo (CLTA) Pistol .40 caliber 165 grain, jacketed hollow point.” The bullets are to be sent to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia, New Mexico, which already received 240,000 hollow point rounds just last month.

220px-.38_Special_mushrooming_side_viewI am not sure why our federal agents are practicing with hollow tips in the first place. Some have argued that these bullets reduce the risk of bullets traveling through suspects or material and hitting bystanders. However, international agreements have long identified such bullets as cruel and sought to bar their use. This includes the Hague Convention of 1899, Declaration III, that prohibits the use in international warfare of bullets that easily expand or flatten in the body.

I would like to understand why DHS is on such an overall buying spree of bullets and weapons. I do not subscribe to the conspiracy theories of a takeover or any of that nonsense. However, as a civil libertarian, I am concerned with the expansion of a security state in the United States with what is becoming a fully functional internal police army. This goes beyond the hollow tip bullets, which may be better for training (though the number is breathtaking). It reminds one of other countries where internal police are paramilitary organizations. It is part of the new normal. We are now getting accustomed to seeing automatic weapons and military-style forces on our streets. We have discussed recurring stories of overkill where local police seem eager to attack homes with armored vehicles purchased as part of the “anti-terrorism” budget. What is surprising is that there is little discussion about the implication of this militarization of our society.

What do you think?

70 thoughts on “Dumb and Dum-Dumer: Homeland Security Orders Huge Delivery of Hollow Point Bullets As Part of Military Buildup”

  1. ON ONE HAND: I do not subscribe to the conspiracy theories of a takeover or any of that nonsense.

    THEN ON THE OTHER: However, as a civil libertarian, I am concerned with the expansion of a security state in the United States with what is becoming a fully functional internal police army.

    The government keeps the propaganda machine going telling people everything is Oky Doky…while at the same time it looks as though they are getting ready for something…

    We’ll just have to wait & see eh?

  2. Blouise, I’d like a smiling emoticon that’s just a tad more subdued than that one… 😉 — one that’s a cross between the two… The one at 10:01 is just a little, too cheerful for my taste.

  3. So last year DHS ordered 1.6 billion rounds and if I’ve been keeping track correctly through Feb. of this year they have ordered about an additional half billion and now they are ordering even more. If they already bought in bulk to save why do they keep buying more and was this last buying spree after the “sequester” that is causing all kinds of cutbacks throughout the country.

  4. Darren,
    You probably already know this, but modern smokeless powder deteriorates much faster than black powder. That is why buried ordnance from the civil war is still dangerous.

    Twenty or thirty years ago, I was consulted on the case of an elderly man who was terminally ill with cancer and just wanted to get it over with. He tried to commit suicide by putting the muzzle of a pistol in his mouth and pulling the trigger….twice. The oral surgeon had extracted two 9mm rounds from the soft tissue in the back of his throat. I asked him where he got the pistol. In a raspy voice, he replied, “I took it off a dead German officer in France.”

    That ammo had been in the pistol since 1944.

  5. Otteray.

    Some agencies have a practice in that after a year, the duty ammo that they carried in cars on on the officers is used as qualifying ammo on the range and new ammo is then given out to the officers just to make sure it still works best.

    One year, probably 2009 or 2010 I don’t remember which, our department ran out of range ammo and we could not get enough in time for the next range shoot due to the shortage and the budget situation the county was in at the time. So, someone bought a lot of reloads from some person who lived in the county. The quality of the rounds was bad. We had two hang-fires and the ammo was greatly underpowered, nearly eveyone’s score was lower because the rounds were dropping down on the targets.

    One deputy had a rather close call. I watched while he was shooting at a target and one shot sounded rather odd. The deputy LUCKILY was concerned and stopped his session after he heard the strange sound his pistol made. They then field stripped the pistol and discovered a bullet still lodged half way down the pipe. Had he fired another round it would have been really ugly a situation.

  6. raff,
    As I read it, the debunking part is the myth all that ammo is being bought up to keep people from defending themselves when the Zombie Apocalypse comes…..or something like that.

    IMHO, the main reason the Feds are buying all that stuff is for the same reason bureaucrats often buy more than they need. Because they can. If they don’t spend all the money in their budget before the end of the fiscal year, it is returned to the General Fund, and next year their budget will be cut because they ended the year with a surplus.

    What will actually happen to it is that it will sit in storage until they give it away (law enforcement and/or foreign military), or the powder in the cartridges eventually goes bad.

  7. ap,

    That’s on the outside. On the inside you’re a soft and fluffly little guinea pig looking for a party.

  8. Blouise,

    My old eyes… That was to have been a full smile and my trademark “…”, not commas…

  9. Trayvon Martin was killed with a hollow-point bullet, which is the only reason I know what a hollow-point bullet is. Trayvon Martin might well have lived if that bullet had not been a hollow-point. It seems that a witness came out of his house after the killing and chatted with George Zimmerman about what kind of ammo he had used. Sick sonza-itchesbay. At that point in time, who knows if life-saving efforts being made by that witness and the hapless killer might have contributed to the possible saving of a life that evening. Anyway, it is my opinion that hollow-point bullets are not needed by weak-minded racist citizens whose conceal and carry permits make them feel more empowered on grocery store trips.

    Blouise, about that picture: the hat will make it into the “worst dressed” column of Women’s Wear Daily!

  10. Blouise, That’s cute. People are using the marriage equality picture for their photos today.

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