Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture solicited bids to purchase .40 caliber sub-machine guns. According to FedBizOps.gov, the USDA placed the following bid request on May 7:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, located in Washington, DC, pursuant to the authority of FAR Part 13, has a requirement for the commerical acquisition of submachine guns, .40 Cal. S&W, ambidextrous safety, semi-automatic or 2 shot burts trigger group, Tritium night sights for front and rear, rails for attachment of flashlight (front under fore grip) and scope (top rear), stock-collapsilbe or folding, magazine – 30 rd. capacity, sling, light weight, and oversized trigger guard for gloved operation. NO SOLICITATION DOCUMENT EXISTS. All responsible and/or interested sources may submit their company name, point of contact, and telephone. If received timely, shall be considered by the agency for contact to determine weapon suitability.
According to Title 7 of the U.S. Code, section 2201, the USDA was established for the following reasons:
There shall be at the seat of government a Department of Agriculture, the general design and duties of which shall be to acquire and to diffuse among the people of the United States useful information on subjects connected with agriculture, rural development, aquaculture, and human nutrition, in the most general and comprehensive sense of those terms, and to procure, propagate, and distribute among the people new and valuable seeds and plants.
Nowhere does it mention anything that would necessitate the purchase of weapons, let alone automatic weapons. The U.S. Forest Service, which is a division of the USDA, has a Law Enforcement & Investigations unit, but the bid request clearly states that the weapons are for the USDA’s Office of Inspector General — not for the Forest Department. All of which begs the question — what does the USDA plan on doing with all this firepower? Liberty Unyielding emailed the procurement officer and posed that very question, and received an automatic response indicating that she would be out of the office until Friday, May 16.