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An ammunition shortage that began during the coronavirus pandemic and the heated 2020 election reportedly continues to plague manufacturers as Americans remain committed to stockpiling as many guns and as much ammo as possible.
“It’s widely known the ammunition shortages continue. There is still a lot of interest in firearms,” Smith & Wesson CEO Mark Smith said this week to Fox Business Network.
The data backs his statement.
A survey conducted by the market research firm Southwick Associates in April found that, out of 1,800 ammo customers surveyed, 75 percent had already experienced out-of-stock issues this year, down by only 5 percent from the record high recorded in 2020.
“Of these respondents, 79% reported either fully or partially reducing their target shooting and hunting outings as a result of depleted ammunition shelves. Going forward, ammunition demand is expected to remain high,” the firm, which specializes in outdoor activities, announced in a press release last month.
“Nearly two-thirds of ammunition consumers report their current ammunition inventory was lower than they would prefer. When asked how much more ammunition they would like to have on hand, 43% reported ‘much more’ while 38% reported ‘a little more.’ Only 17% were satisfied with the amounts they currently had on hand,” it added.
This sentiment can be observed firsthand on Twitter, where numerous gun owners can be seen fretting over a seemingly endless lack of ammo:
I find it extremely interesting that ever since Biden became President, almost every Gun store along with Online Gun stores have been “out of stock” on their firearms and ammo. What’s really going on here?#2A #2ndAmendment #Biden #Guns #WeThePeople #WW1WGA #GunControl #AR15
— ⚜️ 𝕿𝖍𝖊 𝕽𝖚𝖘𝖙𝖎𝖈 𝕍𝖎Ҝ𝖎𝖓𝖌 ⚜️ (@RusticViking) June 14, 2021
If you have a line on any 44 mag ammunition if you will DM me the link. Good on all else. Just can’t find any 44s.
— Rich🅰️rd From 🅰️l🅰️b🅰️m🅰️..🐘Sweet Home (@gilliland1tide) June 19, 2021
How about ammunition? I can’t find any for my 357 Ruger so pretty useless without it!!! No 38s or 357 to be had why ?
— Elisheba Oath of God 🗣🙏🏻🇺🇸❤️ (@LizzySurprenant) May 2, 2021
— Mikel Holt (@Mikelholt) April 14, 2021
Notice what the first Twitter user highlighted above wrote about “out of stock” signs appearing all over the place after the Biden administration took office. His observation wasn’t conspiratorial, according to Vista Outdoor CEO Chris Metz.
“[E]ver since Joe Biden was named the presumed presidential-election winner, we have seen a reaction in the marketplace, and it hasn’t subsided at all. So, through all that, we’ve been producing ammunition flat-out, and yet our retailers are not able to maintain any inventory to speak of,” Metz told American Rifleman magazine in December.
Vista Outdoor is a billion-dollar manufacturer of outdoor recreational and sports products, while American Rifleman is a 98-year-old magazine owned by the NRA.
The ammo shortage coincides with a historical upsurge in gun purchases that began during the coronavirus pandemic and heated 2020 election — and that has refused to subside.
“In March last year, federal background checks, a rough proxy for purchases, topped one million in a week for the first time since the government began tracking them in 1998. And the buying continued, through the protests in the summer and the election in the fall, until a week this spring broke the record with 1.2 million background checks,” according to The New York Times.
A fifth of all gun purchasers last year were reportedly first-time gun buyers. And among these new buyers were a notable number of minorities: 20 percent were black, and 20 percent were Hispanic. Maj Toure, the founder of Black Guns Matter, would be pleased.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) February 19, 2017
The ammo shortage has been so bad that some gun owners have attempted to steal the little bit of ammo that’s still left on the shelves.
Case in point: In late April, three men walked into a sports/outdoor store in Oklahoma City, grabbed 50 boxes of ammo and then walked right back out without paying.
These three men walked into a sports/outdoor store near I-240/S. Walker, loaded over fifty boxes of…
It doesn’t help that the stealing has gone international.
Earlier this very month, two U.S.-bound trailers full of small-caliber ammunition were stolen by “armed assailants on a highway in Mexico,” according to the Associated Press.
“The total quantity was not clear, but was estimated to be about 7 million rounds. The ammunition is sold in the United States under the Aguila brand,” the AP reported.
That’s 7 million fewer rounds available for sale.
The only ones who’ve benefited from the ammo shortage may have been the companies that chose to respond to it with some clever innovation:
No ammo? No problem. Keep your #shootingskills sharp with the at-home Strikeman Laser Training System. Get all the details in @Sootch00‘s full review here: https://t.co/IXdrhOHPWs 🔥 💥 pic.twitter.com/kkzIrffEU0
— GunUp (@GunUp) June 12, 2021
And of course, the anti-gun zealots who experience nausea and hot flashes whenever guns and ammo are purchased.
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