Grand Junction caught in the run on ammo

Fear of Obama administration fuels demand, store owner says

John Smith of Grand Junction carries the maximum number of boxes of Blazer 9mm ammunition to the checkstand at Jerry’s Outdoor Sports, 507 30 Road, on Friday.

There are guns aplenty, but ammunition is hard to come by in Grand Junction and elsewhere, gun-shop owners say.

At Jerry’s Outdoor Sports, purchases have been limited so that more customers can get at least some of the ammunition they want, owner Jerry Stehman said.

The run on ammunition has caused predictable shortages for items such as handgun cartridges, Stehman said. But he’s seeing something he never expected.

“I never thought I’d see the day you couldn’t walk into a store and get a brick of .22 long-rifles,” Stehman said. “They make millions of rounds of .22 long-rifles.”

But those small rounds are just as difficult to come by as any other kind of ammunition, Stehman said.

American gun owners buy about 7 billion rounds of ammunition a year, according to the National Rifle Association.

It’s not for lack of trying that gun stores are having difficulty getting ammunition. It’s just that their requests are back-ordered at the factories. So explained Howard Tietjen to a customer at the gun counter at Gene Taylor’s Sporting Goods.

Gene Taylor’s had no handgun ammunition at the time, but did have large-caliber hunting ammo, Tietjen said.

Gunpowder for reloaders was just as difficult to get as ammunition for consumers seeking ready-to-fire cartridges.

Like Stehman, Gene Taylor’s was out of .22 long-rifle ammunition, Tietjen said.

Mesa Pawn found some .22 long-rifle supplies and was advertising it outside the store at 225 S. Second St.

“We’ve been pretty much scouring the earth”  for the ammunition, largely as a result of customer demand, said a salesman who identified himself only as James.

How long the supply would last, he didn’t know.

“They’ve been beating a path to our door,” James said.

Manufacturers are telling Stehman and Gene Taylor’s they’re doing all they can, but they can’t keep up with demand from across the country.

The reason for the demand is simple, Stehman said. Gun owners fear President Obama will raise taxes on bullets or find other ways to make possession of ammunition difficult, expensive, or both.

“President Obama has never said anything” to that effect, Stehman said, “but he hasn’t had to.”

The upshot has been customers have looked high and low for ammunition.

When Stehman received 10 cases of .380 ammunition, a popular handgun caliber, it flew off the shelf.

“We sold 200 boxes in two-and-a-half days,” he said. “I’m the first to tell you that business is absolutely wonderful. It seems to be recession-proof.”


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