February 10, 2009
“Selling bullets may be the most secure job in Florida as long as supplies last.
“After months of heavy buying, gun dealers across the state are experiencing shortages.
“Some say it began with the election of President Barack Obama. Others say it’s about the economic downturn or fear of crime. Whatever the reasons, ammunition has been selling like plywood and bottled water in the days before a hurricane.
“The survivalist in all of us comes out,” said John Ritz, manager of East Orange Shooting Sports in Winter Park. (…)
"Demand for bullets is so strong that suppliers are restricting deliveries.
“Where we used to get 20 to 30 cases [in a shipment], we may get two to three cases now,” said Vic Grechniw of Florida Ammo Traders in Tampa. “The supply just isn’t there. . . . Everybody is pretty much rushing out to get their hands on whatever they can.”
"Most in demand is handgun ammunition, including 9 mm and .45-caliber for semiautomatic pistols and .38-caliber for revolvers. Clerks at local Walmart stores, including Apopka and Kissimmee, say those sizes, along with .22-caliber, are on back order at the chain’s warehouses.
"American gun owners buy about 7 billion rounds of ammunition yearly… (…)
“It used to be you’d order bullets and get them in the next day. Now it can take a couple of months,” said owner John Harvey, who has seen demand for state concealed-weapons classes increase 300 percent since the election.
“I haven’t been able to get any smaller concealed guns that I’d recommend come in in two months,” Harvey said. “Basically, Smith & Wesson is out of Smith & Wesson.”
"The latest surge is pushing already high costs still higher. (…)
"National chains are seeing the same increased levels of customers buying guns and ammunition in recent months, said Larry L. Whiteley, a spokesman for Bass Pro Shops. “Why, we don’t know,” he said.
"One major regional manufacturer, Georgia Arms, has seen bullet sales jump 100 percent since the November election. “People are just stockpiling,” said company spokeswoman Judy Shipley. “A gun is just like a car. If you can’t get gas, you can’t use it.”