If you're a gun owner you may have noticed it's not just firearms flying off the shelves, but ammunition too. In the weeks after the Newtown tragedy, we saw the debate over gun control come back to center stage. And just like we saw a run on guns, we're now seeing the same shortage when it comes to ammo.
The clerks have been outnumbered lately at Reno's Bizarre Guns, by folks like Brian Reed. He says finding his bullets has been like finding needles in haystacks. "I've checked Walmart, Kmart, I've been to Silver State Firearms, Mark Fore Strike, Cabelas…no luck. It's the same thing, 'Call every day and if we got it come on down.'"
He found some of what he was looking for, telling the clerk, "That's definitely hard to find. I think you're the only shop in town that I was able to locate the 9mm." But not all. For other calibers he was told to "call back."
Ammunition prices have ticked up. The inventories are scarce. On the shelves we saw about less than half the supply Bizarre Guns typically has. They've gotten to the point where they're limiting how much customers can buy. Manager John Clement told us, "On boxed ammo, we limit people to 2 boxes of any one caliber."
John's been dealing with guns off and on for 30 years now. He's never seen a shortage like this. "At least back in 2009 we could go to other sources and get ammo. We can't now, they're all out of ammo. There are people coming up from California trying to stock up."
More ammo is back-ordered. He says the wait is now about a month. The reasons are less about material shortages and more about politics. Gun enthusiasts are stocking up on ammunition over legislative action against guns. President Obama has called for a ban on military-style assault weapons and limiting the size of magazines.
Those new gun control initiatives are having the opposite effect of their intention. People are hoarding whatever they can get their hands on, especially the most popular recreational calibers: .223, the .22 long rifle and 9mm bullets. As Brian Reed told us, "I think people are panicking and they're stocking up because they don't know whether there will be a limit on the amount you'll be able to purchase."
Finally getting a minute to talk after a crush of customers, John Clement told us that as long as gun control efforts continue, and people fear their second amendment rights are being infringed, this scene will continue. When does he see this shortage ending? "Ha. I don't, as long as this administration continues this insanity."