Ammo shortage frustrating gun owners, law enforcement

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Reported by: Ian Silver
Updated: 2/19/2013 11:14 am Published: 2/18/2013 6:05 pm

Frustration is growing over a shortage of ammunition across the country and the Tulsa area.

Initially, there was a run on bullets after President Obama won reelection. Then again after the mass shooting in Connecticut and the subsequent call for stricter gun control.

With one of the highest rates of gun ownership per capita in the country, Oklahoma quickly became one of the toughest places to find large quantities of ammo. Local resellers are doing all they can to keep up, but they are just as frustrated by the situation.

Don Randell lives in Oklahoma City, but stopped into 2A Shooting Center in Tulsa on Monday looking to reload.

"While I'm up here I thought I'd stop in several of the shops and look for pricing on ammo," Randell said. "I can find ammo, but it's so expensive right now because of the supply and demand."

It's a frustrating situation not only for gun owners, but also for gun shops.

"We try to keep large quantities around just for these ups and down in the market," Eric Fuson, General Manager of 2A, said. "But even with the large amount we typically stock of the more popular ammunitions, I still find myself running out."

So Fuson has to limit the number of boxes customers can buy of certain calibers, or limit their purchase only for use on his shooting range.

He said .9mm, .22 long rifle, .45 caliber and .223 caliber for AR-15s are the hardest keep stocked.

And even though he orders as many as he can of those calibers, it doesn't mean he will be able to supply his customers any time soon.

"Manufacturers, on average, are over a year from the point of time of order to the point of delivery," Fuson said.

But Randell said even when he can find ammo he's looking for, with high demand and low supply, prices are skyrocketing.

"I can get it," he said. "It's just frustrating because I don't pay the prices that people are wanting."

Local law enforcement agencies are having a hard time staying stocked as well. Officers are required to complete a certain amount of training every year, but there isn't always enough ammunition to complete that training.

Fuson said manufacturers are now making them their top priority for delivery.

"You law enforcement agencies, whether it's state, federal or local, and the United States military are always going to take priority to everyone else," he said.

But no matter what new regulations may come out of Washington in the coming months, Fuson is optimistic things will get better.

"There is a light at the end of the tunnel," he said. "Things will get better. Prices will start to slowly begin to fluctuate downward. Manufacturers will slowly begin to get caught up. And this is not going to be a forever permanent thing."

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