I really, really wanted to shoot today, but wasn’t able to. Why, you might ask? Was I backed up with work? Nope. Did I have a long list of chores to do, to stay in my wife’s good graces? Nope. I was free as a bird. But I couldn’t shoot because, with the exception of 100 rounds of 22LR and the loaded 9 mm magazines that I keep at home for purposes of self-defense, I was out out of ammo.
Nor was I alone. The shelves here in Minnesota are empty. You can still find a few rounds of .380, .40 and even .45 caliber bullets, along with more exotic varieties, but the most popular ammunition–22LR and 9 mm–is sold out everywhere. The shelves are literally bare. Every now and then someone gets in a small shipment; a friend told me that a local Dick’s Sporting Goods got some 9 mm bullets in yesterday. They were gone almost instantly.
I figured if anyplace wouldn’t run out of ammo, it is South Dakota, so I checked with my brother. Sure enough, ammunition is gone there, too. A local store that does a major firearms business ordered a semi truck load of ammo; what got delivered was three pallets. They were told they could expect another delivery in 2014.
So what is going on? In part, certainly, the perception of a potential shortage due to the policies of the Obama administration has led to the reality of a shortage, as everyone started to stock up. I can understand the mentality: if I wandered into a gun store and found that they had just put 1,000 9 mm rounds on the shelf, I would buy them all. But does that fully explain what is happening? How about the fact that government agencies are buying up billions of rounds? There have been lots of news reports and lots of rumors, but no clear explanation of why the federal government has invested so massively in ammunition–including the most popular civilian calibers–over the last year. One way or another, it seems that there is a story here. But for it to be pursued, we would need “reporters.” Remember them? Nah, that was a bygone era: you probably don’t.
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