Ammo shortage in the Midlands

The State

Gun suppliers in the Midlands are having trouble keeping ammunition in stock this year.

"It's scarce to begin with," said Kent Parsons, manager of Barron's Outfitters on Harden Street. "People are buying it as it's available."

Parsons said the poor economy is reducing the ability of manufacturers to borrow money to buy raw materials so stores aren't able to order as many bullets as in previous years.

The ongoing war on terror also means the military gets the first crack at bullets that are produced, said Randy Hodge, manager of Sportsman's Warehouse on Piney Grove Road.

But customers also fear the new president and the Democratic-controlled Congress will pass new gun laws, restricting their access, the ammunition dealers said.

"There is some of that," Parsons said. "But the president is not the sole reason for there being an interest in ammunition."

Hodge said people are scared of exorbitant taxes on ammunition and one proposal that would have added ingredients to bullets that would render them useless after two years.

He said the problem started around mid-November when President Barack Obama was elected to office.

"Change can sometimes breed excitement," he said. "That's what fed the frenzy."

Hodge said he has seen improvement in inventory levels over the past month now that the "mass hysteria" has calmed.

"Things are getting better," Hodge said. "We're catching up."

- Kristy Eppley Rupon