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Several factors cited in ammo shortage
Yuman Owen Jackson went out last weekend to buy ammunition, but after trips to two different stores in town he came up empty-handed because the shelves were bare.
Jackson said this wasn't a one-time occurrence. It's happened two or three times since August or September, he said.
He isn't the only person who's had a difficult time. Shortages of ammunition and reloading components have been reported all over the United States.
Concerns that a Democratic president and Democratic Congress will soon enact stiffer gun control laws combined with some concerns of safety during the current economic downturn have many people scurrying to buy firearms and ammunition, including components to reload.
Ted Novin, director of public affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade organization for the ammunition and firearms industry, said he's spoken with industry representatives and they've all said the same thing.
"All (manufacturers') operations are at full capacity in order to meet the needs of their customers. That said, demand for ammunition continues to soar."
Novin said primers, a component of ammunition reloading, are in short supply because of an increase in reloading and because it is a necessary component in the manufacturing process of ammunition.
Michael Brick, owner of Yuma Coin and Gun Shop, said they've been selling everything from firearms to all kinds of ammunition and reloading components at "record rates" since President Obama was elected.
Jackson said he's heard fellow shooters talk about the possibility of the current administration clamping down on firearms and ammunition as a reason they're trying to get as much ammunition as possible, but word of mouth is also to blame.
"It's like food," Jackson said. "Somebody says that there's a shortage of something and all of a sudden, even if there isn't a shortage, everyone and his kid brother is out there trying to buy it and hoarding ammunition."
Brick said an example of the increased demand on ammunition is his sales at a recent gun show in Yuma.
"We did take a little bit (of ammunition) that I had in bulk. We sold about 6,000 rounds in two minutes."
He said when he calls his suppliers, they laugh and ask him "Now what do you really want?"
Richard D. Sprague, owner of Sprague's Sports in Yuma, said they're pretty much able to meet their customers' needs and have a lot of product on order, but he still has three employees on the phone about nine to 10 hours a day trying order more.
"You just kind of place your orders and wait in line," Sprague said.
But it's not just the "erosion of confidence of all of the above affairs in Washington," Sprague said, that has people buying more firearms and ammunition. It's also the economy.
He said business is up in these uncertain times, and when everything is good, business is not good.
For now, Sprague said he's limiting the sale of some items such as primers and certain types of ammunition.
"We still have people that want to come in and clear off the shelf, and I'm trying to make sure that doesn't happen," he said.
As to when gun enthusiasts can expect to have a steady supply of ammunition and reloading components, Novin said he believes it is a temporary issue, but it's going to take some time for supply to catch up with demand.
"How long, there's really just no telling," he said.
Jackson said he went to a third store during the week and bought five boxes, or 100 rounds, of ammunition.
Now, this weekend, he said he's able to go out and shoot.
Stephanie A. Wilken can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6857.