Pass the ammunition

We are in the midst of a national ammunition shortage. Provoked by an AP story attributing the shortage to military demand (i.e., President Bush), Bob Owens started writing about the shortage in 2007. Owens debunked the AP story claiming the military’s consumption of ammunition was responsible for police ammunition shortages in the United States.

Owens revisited the subject in February of this year, reviewing possible causes of the current shortage. Sales of ammo are booming, making it what Glenn Reynolds calls “an economic bright spot.”

Last month ESPN took a look at booming ammo sales, including an interesting Google Trends chart in the story “The ammo boom is no dud.” The Google Trends chart supports the story’s thesis that concerns over what the election of Barack Obama (and a Democratic Congress) portends for gun owners is the main cause for the inflated demand for ammunition.

ESPN quotes the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Ted Novin: “Gun owners are worried about taxes being added to ammo, or worried about new laws that will affect the production, and consequently the price, of ammunition. It’s understandable; there are a lot of people in power now who have a long history of supporting bills that violate Second Amendment rights.”

ESPN also checked in with Jim Rausher, the co-owner of Joe’s Sporting Goods in suburban St. Paul. “A lot of my guys think that the government is going to tax ammo to the point that it gets ungodly expensive,” says Rausher. “So they’re buying ammo and putting it away — 9mm, .380, .38 Special, .40 S&W, .45 — all the popular stuff. I think they’re probably on the right track. Something is coming; something is going to happen. Whether it’s microstamping or non-lead bullets, ammo is going up in cost.”

ABC turned to the subject this week in “Demand for ammo deplete stores’ stock.” Reporting from Atlanta, Ryan Owens and Sidney Wright IV credit the political explanation. The cite gun shop owner Jay Wallace, who attributes the shortage to the election of Barack Obama. Fear that the president will change gun laws is prompting many gun owners to store up as much ammo as they can, as fast as they can. “They are afraid they are not going to be able to get ammunition anymore,” said Wallace. “So they are buying it and stockpiling it.”

ABC’s Owens and Wright also attribute the shortage to military needs. According to them, “Years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan have also depleted the supply of ammunition because suppliers are required to give the military first choice.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, ABC cites no evidence in support of this proposition. This is where we came in, with the proposition that Bob Owens debunked in 2007.

In his continuing search for truth, justice and the American way, Glenn Reynolds has tracked several of these stories at Instapundit (found via a search on “ammo”).

UPDATE: On a related note, the Washington Examiner reports that gun sales jump in the DC area.


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