Conspiracy theories claim that the government is responsible for the ammo shortage. The unprecedented demand is the real cause.
If you walk into most gun stores today, you will have a hard time finding shelves full of gun ammo. They are rarer and their price has increased by more than 100%. A year ago, the outlook was gloomier. In fact, the United States recorded record levels of gun purchases in 2020.
Since the start of the pandemic, gun sales have increased. There are about 7 million new gun owners in the last 18 months.
People bought for protection, target shooting and other reasons, says Bobby Robbins of Guns Too in Lenoir.
That put a big strain on the ammo supply, he says, and the manufacturers couldn’t keep up.
Manufacturers had their own problems during COVID-19 and production slowed or even stopped at times.
Why is there shortage of ammo? – The ammo shortage is the result of a perfect storm that formed in the first quarter of 2020, when the effects of a global pandemic were felt. Suddenly, the COVID-19 outbreak and accompanying restrictions are holding back a booming American economy. Companies, many of which were considered financially sound before the pandemic, have closed their doors forever. The global supply chain snapped like a dry twig as we frantically searched for masks, hand sanitiser, isopropyl alcohol, toilet paper, paper clips, and yes, guns.
Widespread civil unrest swept the country over the summer with an intensity not seen since the 1960s. Buildings were burned, stores were looted, and reports of violence and rising crime rates filled the streets. Meanwhile, some called for local and regional law enforcement support and several municipalities followed suit. Fear of the virus, fear of food shortages, and fear of riots whether real or imagined dominated many American hearts and minds. Guns and the ammo that feeds them were sold in record quantities – and continue to be sold – and much of it goes to people buying their first gun. When I talk to these new customers behind the counter where I work, I can’t tell you how many times the conversation starts with, ‘I never thought I could buy a gun.
Why is there shortage of ammo? – The FBI has reported a 40 percent increase in the number of gun background checks between 2019 and 2020. The National Shooting Sports Foundation estimates that about 8.4 million of them were first-time gun owners.
The trend continued into 2021. FBI data shows 12,452,319 background checks in the first quarter alone, from January to March. Pandemics, social unrest, difficult presidential elections, and the insurgency seem to have caused spikes in gun buying habits compared to previous years.
So is the government causing an artificial shortage of gun ammo to prevent law-abiding Americans from getting bullets?
We can clearly say no, with professional support. The shortage is due to unprecedented demand and, to a lesser extent, hoarding and panic buying.
Why is there shortage of ammo? – Remember the March 2020 toilet paper crisis? According to Lawrence Keane, the shortage is essentially the same, in part due to hoarding and panic shopping.
Mr. Keane is General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Public and Government Relations for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). The NSSF is a gun industry trade association and gun rights lobby based in Newtown, Connecticut.
“This becomes a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy,” Keane said. “Like toilet paper last year, they’re taking everything they can as fast as they can because they’re not sure they’ll get it in the future.”
Is the end near? Unfortunately, there is no clue when ammo stocks will normalize. However, consumers can be assured that ammo manufacturers are doing their best to continue producing ammo in record quantities. Until the supply increases enough to meet demand, remember your manners: avoid the temptation to hoard ammo and share it with those in need.