It is certainly a sign of the times. In 2020, the FBI processed a record 39.7 million firearm background checks, the most recorded since the agency began keeping tabs in 1998. On top of that, checks exclusively related to the sale of firearms also reached a record high last year, totaling 21 million, according to firearm trade organization National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).
The gun and ammo craze, which is being pinned on the COVID-19 crisis, the violent rioting that gripped major cities in recent months, and the new Biden administration, has anyone looking to get their hands on ammunition going to extraordinary lengths as a nation wide shortage strikes the market.
A recent report out of Florida highlights how far people are going for ammo, and why …
People started lining up in front of the door at Academy Sports + Outdoors in Lake Mary as early as 2 a.m. on Monday waiting for the doors to open at 9 a.m.
When FOX 35 News asked several of those in line what they were waiting for, they all answered “ammo.” Many voiced that they are afraid of what new gun laws could come under a new administration.
“I think we all believe Biden is going to take it away from us too,” David Godkin said. – Fox 35 Orlando
Similar stories are also coming out of Texas where empty shelves that once held ammo now collect dust as supply fails to meet the high demand …
“It’s been a nationwide hit,” said an employee at the Outdoorsmen. “We’ve been told that there is a nearly billion dollar backup on orders from manufacturers.”
He thinks that this backup won’t be resolved until the third quarter of 2022 and “that’s if we’re lucky.”
Even huge retail stores like Academy have had to limit ammunition purchases. “Ammunition Limits: Three Units Overall On All Handgun and Rifle Calibers Per Customer Per Day” states a large sign in Academy’s ammo section of the store. – San Angelo Live
Further highlighting the lengths people are going for ammo is Jordan Sillars of MeatEater.com …
Desperate gun owners have driven hours to pick up just a few boxes of .223 Rem. They’ve learned the schedules of ammunition delivery trucks and rotated between store clerks to purchase more than the store’s two-box limit. One of my relatives (who will remain nameless) even asked his friend to stash ammunition in a fishing tackle box while shopping at a local big-box store. When fellow ammo seekers asked my relative where he found two boxes of 9mm among the empty shelves several hours later, he just shrugged and walked away.
Perhaps summing up the ongoing scramble for ammo better than anyone is Mark Oliva, director of public affairs for the NSSF, who compared what’s happening to the hysterical rummage for toilet paper we saw at the start of the Covid-19 scare.
“You can’t discount the toilet paper effect that’s going on,” Oliva said in an interview with Meat Eater.
“People are concerned they aren’t going to get what they need when they need it.”
Neil Davies, marketing director for ammunition maker Hornady, says that the COVID-19 crisis was a “watershed moment” for his company that recorded their biggest sales month ever in March.
“When people started to wonder how COVID was going to impact their lives, they flocked to all kinds of things in order to makes sure they would be taken care of: toilet paper, ammunition, guns, hand sanitizer,” Davies told Meat Eater.
When social unrest began in major American cities, the demand for ammunition “hit third gear,” says Davies. He would add that the shortage is “going to go deep into 2021. That’s a fact. This entire calendar year.”
Adding to the struggle is the price of ammo which has soared over the past year …
Across town, at Volusia Top Gun, it’s a similar story. On Sunday, the staff showed up at work to find 60 people waiting in line before the store opened. Owner Ron Perkinson said his store is typically full of inventory — one of the biggest in Florida. While he does have some weapons on the shelves, the majority of his gun cases are empty.
He estimated that his business has been up another 100%. Ammunition is the biggest seller at Volusia Top Gun. Due to supply and demand, his suppliers have raised their prices so he has had to raise his too. A small box of 9mm ammunition that was selling for $14 maximum at this time last year, is now selling for $37.99 and he can barely keep it stock. He has had to limit the number of boxes he’s selling at times.
“I could have done 300% more if I had the inventory. I’m turning away a lot of people just for lack of inventory,” Perkinson explained. – Fox 35 Orlando
As we highlighted back in November, the Biden administration is eyeing gun control measures that could force millions of American’s to collectively cough up tens of billions dollars in taxes as millions of rifles and magazines now in their possession could become subject to a tax under the National Firearms Act.
The center piece of Biden’s gun plan is to place a ban on the manufacture and sale of “assault weapons,” while bringing the regulation of possession of such firearms under the 1934 National Firearms Act.
Currently, the NFA of 1934 applies to fully automatics firearms, silencers and short-barreled rifles. But Biden would drag “assault weapons”, meaning semiautomatic rifles, pistols and shotguns (think the AR-15) along with “high capacity magazines”, which have generally been understood to be magazines that carry more than 10 rounds, under the act.
According to a National Shooting Sports Foundation report on firearm production figures, Americans in total own at least 20 million rifles and 150 million ammunition magazines that would be subject to the NFA regulations if Biden’s plan were put in place.
Under the NFA, each rifle and each magazine would be taxed at $200 per item, costing American gun owners up to $34 billion dollars.
While Biden has not been very vocal as of yet in regard to gun control – but rather focusing on issues such as the pandemic, racism and domestic terrorism – one could suspect we are only one publicized “mass shooting” away from gun control legislation landing in the majority Democrat chambers of congress.
And as far as what new gun control legislation will mean for the supply issues related to ammunition, we likely do not need to explain what this means…