By Thomas R. Eddlem
The U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement Agency (ICE) has a federal contract out to bid for 200 million rounds of automatic weapons ammunition for its agents, a figure that represents about 10,000 rounds for each of its 20,000 employees. You read that correctly, 200,000,000 rounds of .223 automatic weapons ammunition.
According to the Federal Business Opportunities website, the on-line contracting portal of the federal government, the ICE bid would purchase the following: “The estimated amount over the 5 year duration of the contract will be 165,000,000 rounds” of “.223 Remington Caliber SD” to “DHS component locations within the Continental United States (CONUS) and its territories including Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, the Northern Marianna [sic] Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.” On September 16, this solicitation was increased to 200 million rounds over five years.
This amounts to about 10,000 rounds for every one of the 20,000 ICE employees, including secretaries and support staff. The .223 round is the standard ammunition for the military’s automatic rifle M-4 Carbine, its predecessor, the M-16, as well as the civilian semi-automatic equivalent, the AR-15. So ICE is ordering enough ammunition for a major war, even as it mandates that some ICE agents patrol the U.S.-Mexican border with bean-bag guns.
But this isn’t the only contract that ICE has for firearms ammunition. ICE also ordered in September some 25,000 rounds of blank .308 rifle ammunition and “176,000 ROUNDS of .308 caliber 168 Grain hollow point,” both for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of DHS. The .308 round is the preferred round for police snipers. Either ICE agents are going to do some heavy-duty target practice over the next couple years, or the agency is planning for some serious violence, or both.