Bullet shortage has ammunition buyers fired up

BY MELINDA TICHELAAR
mtichelaar@kenoshanews.com
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Gun shop owners across Kenosha County are reporting shortages of ammunition.

“The sales are just crazy,” said Randy Rogness of Paddock Lake Sporting Goods, 23522 75th St. “We have put on a one- or two-box limit, depending on what they want to buy. The day of ordering bulk ammo is done.”

Rogness said that shortages of a variety of ammunition (including .308, and .223, .45 handgun and .22 rifle ammo) started in late December – right after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

“I ordered a guy a case of .45 ammo case right before Christmas. Price was right, no problem. Couldn’t get that today. A guy wanted to order a thousand rounds and I couldn’t do it,” he said.

Other gun shop owners are experiencing similar shortages. Todd Ogren of The Gun Shop LLC, 1452 Sheridan Road, said that sometimes he can’t even get ammunition suppliers to call him back.

“I got 10 boxes of .40 caliber ammo yesterday. I limited the boxes to two per regular customer and it was gone in a couple hours,” Ogren said.

Long lines

Rogness said that he has witnessed long, weekly lines at Gander Mountain in Kenosha as gun owners wait for pallets of ammunition to be unloaded. Gander Mountain’s local manager would not talk with the Kenosha News or let a reporter on the property, but Minnesota-based Gander Mountain corporate public relations specialist Jess Meyers confirmed anecdotal reports of lines at stores.

“What people are talking about in Kenosha is not unique,” said Meyers. “We can’t give out sales numbers, but the levels have been encouraging throughout the system.”

Meyers said that there is no corporatewide policy on per-customer ammunition limits, but that he “believe[d] some (Gander Mountain) stores are placing a 10-box limit.” Cabela’s website states that the chain is limiting customers to five boxes per order on some types of ammunition.

The reasons behind the shortages are unclear.

“A million reasons and a million rumors of why. Nothing anyone can put their hands on,” Ogren said. “The president is talking about a weapons ban and an ammunition ban, so people are hoarding and grabbing. These little scares and little shortages happen all the time. But this is the worst it’s ever been.”

Since supply is down, the cost is going up, said Rogness and Ogren. That affects AR-15 and other “modern sporting rifle” owners; a 2010 study conducted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation found that the average owner uses 1,056 rounds of ammunition every year.

Gun prices up

Ammunition is not the only thing that costs more; gun prices are also up. The shooter at Sandy Hook used a Bushmaster XM-15 rifle (an AR-15-style gun); the killer at the movie theater in Aurora, Colo., last summer used a Smith & Wesson M&P15, which is also an AR-15 variant. That – coupled with political rumblings about a new assault weapons ban – led to concerns among some gun owners. Rogness said guns that were selling for $899 right before Christmas peaked over $1,500 in January.

“I even had guys come in and buy them and say, ‘I might never shoot this thing, but I’ll be damned if someone will not let me shoot this, and take away my Second Amendment rights,” Rogness said.

Rogness and Ogren said the prices have been coming back down for the past few weeks, and on Monday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said an assault weapons ban would not be part of the Senate’s new gun control law.

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