Ammunition sales are robust these days — by local consumers and the U.S. government.
A hunter or anyone attempting to buy any ammunition locally will find a shortage of all types of ammunition — pistol, rifle and shotgun. The Coastal Courier recently talked to representatives of three local businesses that sell ammunition. Each store reported an unprecedented ammunition shortage.
“I’ve had people come in here and buy up $300 in ammunition,” said Lorrie Oglesbee, manager of Anderson’s Feed & Garden Supply. “Right now, it’s .22 (caliber) long rifle they’re looking for. This has been going on since the election.”
Oglesbee explained that selling ammunition is a fraction of her business, but said as soon as the ammunition comes in, it’s bought up. She said she has a couple boxes of high-powered rifle ammunition like .30.06 and a few boxes of 12-gauge No. 4s, also called turkey load. With spring gobbler season opening next week and wild hogs in season year-round, she doesn’t believe the run on ammo is for hunting.
Mark McDaniels, assistant manager of Aim Center Mass, said their store has been able to keep some supply of certain types of ammunition because the store’s policy now limits customers to one box of ammunition.
“We started limiting sales to one box per customer, so people can at least get one box of what they’re looking for,” McDaniels said. “The most popular ammo right now is 9mm then it’s .22 (caliber) long rifle, then .223 (caliber) and 5.56 (mm).”
To illustrate how difficult it is to get ammunition, McDaniels said that since Jan. 1, their business has received only three boxes of .223-caliber ammunition used in some assault rifles.
Although the ammunition counter in the sporting goods section of Hinesville’s Walmart virtually was empty, sales-staff members said they could not respond to press inquiries.
According to Ashley Hardy, media-relations representative for Walmart’s corporate office, the giant department store is experiencing ammunition shortages in some regions more than others.
“We’re working closely with our ammunition suppliers to ensure we’re shipping ammunition to those stores where it is most needed,” she said. “We started a new policy on Jan. 24 that all ammunition sales will be limited to three boxes a day per customer.”
According to an article by Emily Jane Fox on money.cnn.com, Walmart sells guns and ammunition in fewer than half its 4,000 stores but has had difficulty keeping guns and ammunition in stock since November’s election.
Meanwhile, the federal government also is getting in on ammo sales. An Associated Press report published by Fox News on Feb. 14 confirmed the government’s purchase of more than 1.6 billion rounds in the next five years. The government’s explanation is that the ammunition is to be used for law-enforcement training.
The report cites information from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, which is run by the Department of Homeland Security. The DHS uses as many as 15 million rounds of ammunition a year, mostly at shooting ranges and training exercises, the report said. At that rate, it would take the government more than 100 years to use up 1.6 billion rounds.
A Feb. 8 article by Andrew Malcolm on investors.com noted that during the peak of the Iraq War, American soldiers were using about 5.5 million rounds a month. The article said that even if the DHS increased its consumption of training rounds to that rate, it would have enough ammunition for a 24-year war.
The AP article said the ammunition being purchased by the government is mostly .40-caliber and 9-mm pistol ammo but also rifle ammunition. The article doesn’t say what caliber of rifle ammunition, but a Jan. 28 article published on infowars.com reported that DHS is buying 7,000 assault rifles with full-auto capability. A Sept. 13, 2012, article published on braincramps.net reports that DHS also is buying 2,500 heavily-armored vehicles.
The large ammunition purchases by the government has caused concern with some people.
Malcolm’s report asserted that the government’s failure to give a “credible, official explanation for such awesome ammunition acquisitions” only feeds conspiracy theories about the government preparing for some kind of “domestic insurrection.” He added that DHS director Janet Napolitano often has alluded to threats from what she’s called “extreme right wing” groups.