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May 23, 2013

Fed ammo theories show who is gullible

The Daily Star

---- — Ask 10 people for their thoughts on the National Rifle Association, and you’ll likely get a broad range of responses. But on one point, we can all agree — if a threat to the Second Amendment appears, the NRA will find out about it and quickly spread the word.

That’s why it was nice to see the NRA last summer shoot down one of the more absurd rumors that’s been making the rounds: that the federal Department of Homeland Security and other agencies are hoarding massive stockpiles of ammunition for secret, nefarious purposes.

The rumors began when radio host Alex Jones pounced on request forms for government purchases of bulk ammunition. By misinterpreting the maximum allowable purchase limits on these contracts as final, immediate orders, Jones speculated that the government was purchasing billions of rounds of small arms ammunition to quash “civil unrest.”

Not so fast, according to the NRA, which debunked the claims as efforts “to stir up fear” based on “a lack of understanding of the law enforcement functions carried about by officers in small federal agencies.”

“There are more than enough actual threats to the Second Amendment to keep gun owners busy,” the NRA said in an August 2012 statement that should have driven a stake through the rumor’s heart. “There is no need to invent additional threats to our rights.”

The fact that Jones misled people comes as no surprise. Jones, an early 9/11 “truther,” more recently pinned responsibility for the Aurora theater shootings, the Sandy Hook massacre and the Boston Marathon bombings on the federal government. He even warned that secret government “weather weapons” could be behind this week’s deadly Oklahoma tornadoes.

As long as this nonsense remains in the domain of fringe blogs and talk radio, it isn’t worth dignifying with a comment. Unfortunately, it occasionally seeps into our more dim-witted lawmakers, as demonstrated recently by Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla.

Claiming the Obama administration is depriving citizens of ammunition by “limiting what’s available in the market with federal agencies purchasing unnecessary stockpiles,” Inhofe introduced a bill that would ban federal bullet purchases that exceed each agency’s 2001-09 monthly averages under the Bush administration.

Inhofe might just be gullible enough to believe the rumors, and perhaps we should hope that’s the case. The other, more-odious possibility is that he’s pandering to single-issue voters — whose single issue happens to be having enough firepower to wipe out a SWAT team.

Let these rumors, and the NRA’s refutation of them, be a lesson about the reliability of the information we receive. If you value honesty and truthfulness, you should rely on sources that do the same. But if, like Sen. Inhofe, you don’t, there’s always Alex Jones.