Why does Social Security need 174,000 bullets?

The Internet is abuzz with theories about a government agency.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 4, 2012 12:19PM

By Stephen Ohlemacher


WASHINGTON (AP) - It didn't take long for the Internet to start buzzing with conspiracy theories after the Social Security Administration posted a notice that it was purchasing 174,000 hollow-point bullets.


Why is the agency that provides benefits to retirees, disabled workers, widows and children stockpiling ammunition? Whom are they going to use it on?


"It's not outlandish to suggest that the Social Security Administration is purchasing the bullets as part of preparations for civil unrest," the website Infowars.com said.


Another website, The Daily Caller, said the bullets must be for use against American citizens, "since the SSA has never been used overseas to help foreign countries maintain control of their citizens."


The clamor became such a distraction for the agency that it dedicated a website to explaining the purchase. The explanation, it turns out, isn't as tantalizing as an arms buildup to defend against unruly senior citizens.


The bullets are for Social Security's office of inspector general, which has about 295 agents who investigate Social Security fraud and other crimes, said Jonathan L. Lasher, the agency's assistant IG for external relations.


The agents carry guns and make arrests — 589 last year, Lasher said. They execute search warrants and respond to threats against Social Security offices, employees and customers.


Agents carry .357 caliber pistols, Lasher said. The bullets, which add up to about 590 per agent, are for the upcoming fiscal year. Most will be expended on the firing range.


Some bloggers have taken issue with the type of ammunition the agency is buying, questioning why agents need hollow-point bullets. Hollow-points are known for causing more tissue damage than other bullets when they hit a person because they expand when they enter the body.


The bullets, however, are standard issue for many law enforcement agencies, Lasher said, a fact confirmed by the directors of two law enforcement training centers.


"For practice ammunition, they do not have to be hollow-points, but hollow-points are the normal police round used for duty ammunition due to their ability to stop when they hit an object as opposed to going through it and striking more objects," said William J. Muldoon, president of the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training.


The episode illustrates what can happen when a seemingly salacious tidbit gets amplified and embellished on the Internet.


A few weeks ago, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had a similar dustup when it solicited bids for 46,000 rounds of ammunition and shooting targets, seemingly to arm workers at the National Weather Service. It turns out the notice had a clerical error and the bullets were for NOAA's Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement, the agency said.


Social Security's turn in the pillory hit a crescendo when Jay Leno joked about it in a recent monologue on "The Tonight Show." ''What senior citizens are they worried about?" Leno asked. "I mean, who's going to storm the building?"


Lasher said, "That's why we opened a blog post. We were getting a lot of inquiries and the blog gave us a vehicle to put all of the accurate information out there in one place, so that those who are interested or concerned can read what the real story is."


Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



That is Republican and conservative garbage.

They want 174,000 hollow point bullets with which to kill current Social Security recipients.

The Republicans and conservatives want to continue to live off the money paid in by the current recipients and that money will support them for a lifetime and longer, but they won't admit it.

They falsely claim that Social Security is socialism and that they oppose socialism.

That is a lie also.

They are the most socialism addicted people there could ever be.



Sep 4, 2012 3:05PM
To me, "standard"  police use of hollow point bullets is an "excessive force" issue. When a soldier is forbidden by international law to use them in combat, what is it about police use that justifies use as a "standard bullet"?  Perhaps the two AM break down the door warrant served by police wearing armor and uniforms similar to Orwell's 1984?
Sep 4, 2012 2:52PM
Also makes you wonder why Homeland Security has bought 1.5-2.0 billion bullets in the last few month.  Half of those were hollow point.
Sep 4, 2012 2:43PM

No goverment agency personnel are smart enough to carry arms, save it be military or police institutions, eliminate all guns for politicos of any kind, make them use the local, regional, or state police, they are mostly sitting around eating donuts any way. Besides, being judge, jury,  and executioner is not good for weak minded souls!!

We needed to cut severely the size of government there is way to do it, get rid of gun carrying SSA folks and bring the already hired police forces in to the fray, who are actually trained to a minor degree!! Maybe give them some more training and let there be a separation of enforcement and investigation!!

Our government is so weak right now!!

Sep 4, 2012 2:39PM
Still doesn't explain the quantity they're buying.  Making difficult for citizens to get ammo.
Sep 4, 2012 2:39PM

174,000 bullets = Manufacturing Jobs.


Are you people never satisfied??

Sep 4, 2012 2:38PM
Great cover and useful art of deception through public disinformation.
The government is creating more jobs but they are jobs that do not produce any money they are jobs that are in whole paid for with tax dollars. This is not job creation we need, we need jobs that make money, not use more tax dollars. Fine every U.S. based company that has factorie's out side of the U.S. with a large fine so they'll bring back our factorie's home for the people who used to work in factory's, not every one can run computer's we have to have a production system.
Sep 4, 2012 2:34PM

Agents carry .357 caliber pistols, Lasher said. The bullets, which add up to about 590 per agent, are for the upcoming fiscal year. Most will be expended on the firing range.


Not buying that one; nobody wastes hollow points on the driving range, they use wad cutters.

These bullets are for killing people.



Sep 4, 2012 2:24PM
I would like to know, how many, and why the last order was depleded.
Sep 4, 2012 2:21PM

Bullets don't kill people,...ignorant, deranged people with an abnormal gun fetish kill people.

Sep 4, 2012 2:18PM
Yea boy! Just brilliantly and logically explain it all. You need to get those numbers right in the first place. The ammo purchases were in the millions. "Just routine ya understand".
Sep 4, 2012 2:15PM
I prefer to practice with the exact same ammo I carry in my gun. Different types of ammo will perform/react differently when fired.
Sep 4, 2012 2:14PM
If most are for target practice, why do they need hollow point. Wouldn't they save a little money if they bought standard ammo for practice ?
This ammo is not 357 magnum ammo.  It is for a pistol not a revolver.  It is actually 357 Sig which is basically a 40 S&W case necked down to hold a 357 bullet.  It is a high velocity cartridge that almost equals the 357 magnum is power.  The hollow point is designed to expand rapidly inside a human body causing hydrostatic shock to the body.  It is more humane and safer to use when shooting a person.  When ball ammo is used, it usually over penetrates the human body and keeps enough energy to injure or kill other innocent people.  Plus ball ammo does not offer the stopping capability of a good designed hollowpoint cartridge.  It is more humane because it usually stops the criminal with one well placed shot.  With ball ammo it usually takes quite a few more hits in the human body to stop a criminal.  Hollowpoint ammo also reduces the chance of a richochet (as in the last NY shooting) hitting an innocent person.  Most ammo manufacturers offer good ball ammo for practice and qualifying with a chosen firearm. The majority of police agencies do not practice or qualify using duty type hollowpoint ammunition. The price of hollowpoint duty ammunition is generally twice the price of practice ammo.
Sep 4, 2012 2:06PM

Hollow point bullets are a violation of international law in that they cannot be used in military combat.  They leave horrific wounds.


So we shoot civilians instead.... go figure.

Sep 4, 2012 1:46PM
Since they don't use these for target practice, only for real need, why does each agent need 590 rounds? I'll bet there are agents who have never fired a hollow point bullet in their career. Why then 174,000 for 295 agents? 
Sep 4, 2012 1:39PM
590 bullets per agent- Why don't we start cutting government spending by only providing 500 bullets-a few small cuts here and there will amount up to billions in the long run-500 is 10 bullets per week-less vacation time

They can't do much with bullets.   A bullet needs a case to hold it, powder in the case to burn and  form pressure upon ignition forcing the bullet out the muzzle end of the barrel and a source of ignition for said powder called a primer.    Together the SS Agency bought 174,000 rounds of .357 magnum cartridges. 


People that do not understand what a Cartridge is, shouldn't be writing articles on the subject.

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