MILITARY

Not so sinister: Homeland Security is stockpiling ammo _ for target practice

This handout photo provided by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), taken in Feb. 2010, shows training activities at the indoor range Glynco, Ga. Yes, it's true, the government is buying ammo big time. No, it's not to take up arms against the people, as an online conspiracy buzz has it. The Homeland Security Department is ordering more than 1.6 billion rounds over the next four or five years, roughly the equivalent of five bullets for every person in the U.S. But the cache is for training agents and regular law enforcement, nothing sinister, officials say. (AP Photo/FLETC)

This handout photo provided by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), taken in Feb. 2010, shows training activities at the indoor range Glynco, Ga. Yes, it's true, the government is buying ammo big time. No, it's not to take up arms against the people, as an online conspiracy buzz has it. The Homeland Security Department is ordering more than 1.6 billion rounds over the next four or five years, roughly the equivalent of five bullets for every person in the U.S. But the cache is for training agents and regular law enforcement, nothing sinister, officials say. (AP Photo/FLETC)  (The Associated Press)

Online rumors about a big government munitions purchase are true, sort of. The Homeland Security Department wants to buy more than 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition in the next four or five years. It says it needs them — roughly the equivalent of five bullets for every person in the U.S. — for law enforcement agents in training and on duty.

Published federal notices about the ammo buy have agitated conspiracy theorists since the fall. It's even been dubbed "an arms race against the American people."

The government's explanation is much less sinister.

Federal solicitations to buy the bullets are known as "strategic sourcing contracts," which help the government get a low price for a big purchase. So says Peggy Dixon of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.