Thursday, 24 September 2009

Ammo Scarce as Americans Load Up

Written by  Steven J. DuBord

ammoAs Americans continue to purchase record-setting stockpiles of ammunition, manufacturers are being forced to work literally around the clock to keep up with demand, but even this isn’t enough to avoid shortages, the Associated Press reported on September 23.

The cause of the unprecedented shortage of ammo, especially for handguns, appears to be an arguably justifiable mistrust of President Barack Obama and the Democrat-dominated Congress. While no specific anti-gun legislation is pending at the moment, Americans realize that their God-given right to self-defense as protected by the Second Amendment could be in jeopardy given the current political climate.

Indeed, Americans responded swiftly and instinctively once President Obama’s election was assured. Firearms flew off the shelves in the early months of Obama’s administration. The FBI has stated that 6.1 million Americans underwent background checks for gun purchases through its National Instant Criminal Background Check System between January and May of this year. This was a 25.6 percent upward spike in gun sales versus the same time period in 2008, and, of course, a commensurately greater amount of ammo was also purchased.

“That is going to cause an upswing in ammunition sales,” said Larry Keane, senior vice president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association of some 5,000 members. “Without bullets a gun is just a paper weight.”

While the current shortage is most keenly felt by sportsmen and handgun owners, law enforcement agencies have also noticed shortages due to military use in Iraq and Afghanistan. As recently as September 10, Portland, Oregon’s Willamette Week Online featured this headline: “Police Cancel Marksmanship Qualifications Due to Bullet Shortage.” Bullet makers are aiming to keep up with demand, but they are shooting at a moving target as the wars abroad drag on and some gun owners begin to purchase in bulk quantities.

“We are working overtime and still can’t keep up with the demand,” declared Al Russo, a spokesman for the Remington Arms Company, a maker of rifle, handgun, and shotgun ammo. “We’ve had to add a fourth shift and go 24-7. It’s a phenomenon that I have not seen before in my 30 years in the business.”

Gun sellers are also noticing the extraordinary call for ammunition. Sales manager Dallas Jett of Barnwood Arms in Ripon, California, has seen the supply of some rounds grow more stable, but others, such as 45-caliber rounds, remain scarce. “We’ve been in business for 32 years and I’ve been here for 10 and we’ve never seen anything like it,” Jett noted. “Coming out of Christmas everything started to dry up and it was that way all through the spring and summer.”

Jason Gregory manages Gretna Gun Works on the outskirts of New Orleans. His personal goal is to stockpile 1,000 rounds for each of the 25 firearms he owns. “I call it the Obama effect,” said Gregory. “It always happens when the Democrats get in office. It happened with Clinton and Obama is even stronger for gun control. Ammunition will be the first step, so I’m stocking up while I can.”

Thankfully, Americans can still purchase ammo in a free market, though this means that prices will rise so long as supply is low. As customer Donald Richards was loading up on shells at the Jefferson Gun Outlet and Range just west of New Orleans, he commented: “Used to be gold, but now lead is the most expensive metal — and worth every penny.”

Those needing ammo for target practice, hunting, home defense, or any other reason would be well-advised to shop early and not expect to find too much of the caliber they are looking for if they wait until the last minute. And once again a call should be made to bring our troops and their ammunition home.

America’s law enforcement officials are suffering a shortage of ammo with which to combat crime here at home while our troops blow through thousands of rounds to supposedly guarantee the safety of foreign nations via unconstitutional, undeclared wars. This is a crime itself that Americans should aim to end immediately.

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