The House may have just passed an amendment because of Alex Jones. Late on Wednesday, the lower chamber voted to keep the Department of Homeland Security from entering a contract to purchase 1.1 billion rounds of ammunition until it issues a report justifying itself to Congress. After that report is issued, the amendment would require quarterly reports on ammunition purchases.
The Hill explains the rationale behind this amendment, which was proposed by Representative Mark Meadows (R., N.C.):
Meadows said the speed bump is a necessary reaction to news of the huge purchase, which alarmed many Americans and prompted conservative groups to suspect that the government was stocking up on the rounds to fight citizens.
Concerns about the DHS’s ammunition purchases seem to have their genesis in Alex Jones’s conspiracy-theory website, InfoWars (full disclosure: Jones’s site thinks I work for the CIA). The original story about the sheer number of bullets being bought was picked up by numerous news outlets, but here’s the catch: It wasn’t a story. As Tom Stilson reported at Breitbart, the purchases were routine – the DHS buys ammunition in bulk to save money and uses it for training for a number of other agencies. There don’t seem to be any ulterior motives for the purchases, and concerns that the purchases were intended to cause ammunition shortages also seem entirely unfounded.
But that didn’t stop the House from passing that amendment last night, just in case.
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean House Republicans have been perusing InfoWars for legislative ideas. According to his spokesman, Meadows wasn’t influenced by the site; rather, he received numerous calls from constituents, which prompted him to take action.