By Frank Diez
Rockbridge area gun owners are having a hard time buying ammunition.
Local store owners say they can’t keep up with the demand.
“People are just hoarding ammo,” said Wayne Huffman, owner of Bald Bear Outdoors in Buena Vista. “I wish I was fully stocked, but I’m at about 50 percent.”
Gun shop owners think a big reason for the shortage is the public response to a mass killing in Newtown, Conn., in December 2012, when 20 elementary school children and six teachers and school staff died.
Local store owners say people are afraid President Obama will ask Congress to pass new gun control laws. That fear persists even though an intense effort for a new law by Obama and others in the wake of the Newtown massacre failed. In fact, no new major laws have passed Congress since a law banning assault weapons expired in 2004.
And at least one state that did pass a new gun control law has seen a backlash. Two Colorado legislators were recalled on Sept. 10 after voting for tighter gun laws.
Whatever the facts, Chris Salb, who works at Quail Ridge Sporting Clays in Lexington, says Obama has put everyone on edge.
“Everyone thought they needed military-style weapons because they’re afraid they’ll be taken away,” Salb says. “Everyone just keeps buying boxes of whatever they think they need – they’ll pick up two or three boxes of .22 rounds or shotgun shells and then get six or seven boxes of .308 rounds.”
Huffman says ammunition manufacturers are working hard to catch up to the demand. He says some stores are responding to the shortage by raising prices, but he doesn’t plan to.
“That’s just not something I believe in,” he said.
Salb says that his store’s supply has gotten better recently. It is now up to 70 percent of what he considers normal.
“I started to see more [ammunition] slowly come in during the summer,” he said. “They’re doing everything they can to get it out to the public.”
Remington Arms Co., of Madison, N.C., is the nation’s oldest gunmaker and one of the oldest continuously operating manufacturers in North America.
According to a press release, Remington is expanding its manufacturing plant in Lonoke, Ark., to meet the increasing demand. The $32 million expansion is scheduled to open by spring 2014.
“It’s good to see more production of ammunition being done,” Salb said. “Hopefully soon things will be back to normal.”
For more, see http://weapons.academic.wlu.edu/