April 4, 2013
It has been months since gun shops first reported a dwindling supply of ammunition, and they are still struggling to keep their shelves stocked.
"There was a time when you could just pick up ammunition whenever you felt like it," said Albemarle County Firearms manager Ron Alabanza. "At this point now, we are seeing such a high demand in ammunition, but it's just not out there."
Gun enthusiasts have resorted to searching online for the best deals and even lining up outside retailers at all hours of the day for the latest load.
"You can go to any of the big box stores, whether it's Wal-Mart or Dick's, and people are literally waiting when the trucks come, buy all the ammo they can and it's all gone," said Alabanza.
Albemarle County Firearms has started setting aside some of its ammo for people specifically there to buy guns.
"If you can't buy ammunition for these firearms, they become nothing but expensive paperweights," said store owner Mike Brookman.
Brookman says, while there is no doubt his supply is nowhere near where it was a year ago, there is no clear answer as to why.
Some gun owners say people are stockpiling for fear of weapons bans while others accuse the Department of Homeland Security of buying up all the available ammo.
Manufacturers say they are doing what they can to meet the increased demand, but the lack of bullets has forced gun enthusiasts to change their game, too.
"For those casual, recreation shooters who are like, 'Oh I'll buy a box to go shoot at the range and go home,' it's just not happening anymore," said Alabanza.
"We see people that would normally shoot for an hour or two hours shoot for 15 or 20 minutes and say, 'Well, that's all I'm going to allow myself for the day,'" said Brookman.
But Brookman doesn't think the trend is here to stay. He says he hopes to see his shelves fully stocked by mid-summer.