Gun sales boom cuts ammo supply

The increase in gun sales around Northeast Mississippi is continuing to cause shortages of both firearms and ammunitions. The upward trend has continued since November after the elections.
Then last month, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder suggested the federal ban on the sale of assault weapons might be reinstated.
With more guns came the need for more ammunition. With the subsequent bullet shortage, gun owners – figuratively – shot themselves in the foot.
George Partlow, who owns Hunter’s Haven and Hunter’s Haven II in Tupelo, said he doesn’t have a problem selling a firearm.
“You can sell a lot of firearms if you can find them,” he said. “They’re scarce. … There was a two-hour period Thursday when there’s no telling how many guns we sold. It’s a limited supply and great demand.”
The trend has affected other dealers.
“Sales of guns themselves have slacked up,” said David Carr of Carr’s Guns and Ammo in Saltillo. “The distributors don’t have them.
“I got two guns in Friday morning, and those are the first guns I’ve gotten in a week,” he said. “The Glock rep came by, and he said they are 200,000 guns behind in production.”
Richey Crew of Richey’s Gun and Arrow in Algoma said gun sales also have started to slow down for him.
“Here, (gun sales) have tapered back a little bit. Distributors say it’s up with them,” he said. “We’ve still got people coming in.”
The serious stretching point is the supply of ammunition, especially in the larger sizes.
“It’s been scarce,” said Partlow, “but it’s really getting tough to find ammo in 9mm, .40 caliber and .45 caliber.”
Ammunition manufacturers are trying to keep up with the demand. Valerie Peters, human resources director for Winchester Ammunition in St. Louis, said the company is running full bore.
“Winchester Ammunition, like other ammunition manufacturers, has seen the demand for our products increase significantly since last fall,” she said. “To meet that increased demand, our operations are running 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Our team is literally working around the clock to make quality ammunition available for purchase. We remain absolutely committed to meeting the growing needs of our customers and we are doing everything we can to do so.”
Big demand, short supply
Crew said the shortfall between demand and production is considerable.
“I was talking to somebody the other day who said demand had gone up 90 percent and production is only up 10 percent,” he said. “We were lucky that we had seen it coming a little early.”
Because of the recent economic uncertainties, ammunition is flying off the shelves, Carr said.
“People are not only buying ammo; they’re buy several pounds at a time,” he said. “I talked with (ammunition manufacturer) CCI the other day and they said people are just buying ammo faster than they can make it. It will take three to four months to get some ammo on the shelves.”
People are buying sometimes what they think they’ll need later, Crew said.
“They’re buying boxes of 16-gauge shotgun shells because they don’t think they’ll be able to get them anymore,” he said. “I’ve sold gunpowder and stuff to people who don’t even reload. They just wanted to get the materials just in case they ever decided they wanted to reload.”
Even ammo-based promotions are finding problems because of the lack of ammunition.
“I’ve got those tear-off coupons from CCI that say you can have a T-shirt if you buy so many boxes of ammo,” Crew said. “But we don’t have enough ammo to get a T-shirt.”
Carr said the ammo shortage stretches nationwide.
“I had a friend who went to Nashville on Monday,” he said. “He was looking for 9mm ammunition and went to the big box stores like Gander Mountain and Bass Pro Shops.
“He didn’t find it there, so he stopped at every Wal-Mart and every gun shop on the way back home. He didn’t find any until he got here.”
Contact outdoors writer Buster Wolfe (buster.wolfe@djournal.com) at 678-1576. His blog is http://nems360.com/pages/busterontheoutdoors.

Buster Wolfe/Daily Journal