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The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, or ATF, is planning to take possession of a 160-pound shipment of plastic explosives accompanied by blasting wire measuring hundreds of thousands of feet.

It won’t take place through an enforcement seizure, however, but via bulk direct purchase for its own use.

Some of ATF’s areas of responsibility include monitoring the explosives industry, providing state and local prosecutorial-staff explosives training and investigating the illegal use and possession of explosives.

Specific bureau plans for the materials, however, remain undetermined. Calls to ATF’s Public and Government Affairs Unit seeking explanation were met with a busy signal.

Coinciding with its acquisition of explosives is a major ATF investigation into the reported theft of high explosives from a Montana warehouse.

The bureau is offering a $5,000 reward for information on 285 pounds of missing dynamite, ammonium nitrate fuel oil and explosive boosters reported stolen from an Ajax Contracting Inc. storage facility, ATF’s Denver office said this week.

The alleged theft took place sometime between March 15 and April 1. ATF, within days in an unrelated action, issued a bid request in Solicitation no. DJA-14-ANCE-PR-0360, which seeks 231,000 feet of detonating cords, and quantities of C1 and C2 explosives and 2,000 fuse caps.

Other recent federal entities seeking weapons-related procurements include the U.S. Capitol Police, or USCP, whose ammunition cache is getting a boost of 600,000 rounds of .40 Smith & Wesson hollow-point bullets.

The acquisition presumably will help USCP “to protect the Congress, its legislative processes, members, employees, visitors, and facilities from crime, disruption, or terrorism.”

Major federal, non-military ammo purchases this year have not yet rivaled what was witnessed in 2013.

The FBI planned to spend up to $100 million on bullets in a single solicitation, while the Department of Homeland Security separately sought as many as a quarter-billion rounds, as WND reported one year ago.

Questions have been raised about whether the federal government is or was stockpiling ammunition or was simply making increasingly larger and cost-effective purchases.

A U.S. Government Accountability Office report on DHS-specific ammo acquisitions rejected the notion that stockpiling is taking place.

It acknowledged that a significant shift in government bullet-buying strategies indeed occurred over the past decade-plus.

GAO, however, offered an argument that DHS – comparable to trends in other federal law enforcement entities – almost since its inception has pursued bulk purchases as a money-saving policy.

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