Emily Zanotti, Ammunition makers are reporting a massive backlog, and in some cases, the shortage is so severe that gun owners may not be able to purchase ammunition off the shelves until next year.
Bearing Arms reports that at least one Arizona ammunition manufacturer, the Scottsdale, Arizona, based Ammo Incorporated, is “facing an $80.1 million backlog amid record demand for ammunition.”
“We’re working right now seven days a week, 24 hours a day in all the manufacturing plants,” the company’s CEO told media.
The demand has forced Ammo International to expand its industrial operation, adding millions of dollars in machinery and expanding their production.
Shooting Illustrated, the National Rifle Association’s own news organization, adds that “the current ammunition shortage may continue at least until 2021.”
Bearing Arms notes that the increase in ammunition sales has eclipsed even the increase in gun sales.
“According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the year has already seen a boom in gun purchases, up 95% in the first half of 2020 compared to the same time period of 2019,” the outlet notes. “But ammo sales skyrocketed even higher, up 139% compared to 2019 during that same time period.”
Ammo Incorporated’s CEO suggests that, initially, gun and ammunition purchases increased because of the coronavirus lockdowns. Fearing that help may not be on the way and that emergency services could be otherwise occupied, Americans armed themselves and stockpiled extra ammunition in case it became unavailable. National unrest, though, has given rise to further security concerns, and the many anti-racism and anti-police protests that have given way to violence and looting have driven gun owners to purchase additional weapons and ammunition.
“The start was the pandemic that was going on. But there was always that fear of the election. Of who’s going to be elected of the next President of the United States,” he told media. “But thirdly, I think the unrest in this country right now. And as you’ve seen in a lot of cities, the looting and the burning, and I think people are just scared.”
The shortage has even driven gun ranges to limit how much ammunition visitors can use, according to Nexstar Media. “We’ll limit them to one box of ammunition vs. the normal 300 to 500 rounds,” one gun range owner told the local media conglomerate.
If President Donald Trump does not win the November election, experts believe the demand for guns and ammunition could only increase, both out of fear of unrest and concern that a Democratic presidential administration will target gun rights.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, are billed as the strongest “gun safety” presidential ticket in history, according to Fox News. The pair’s website notes that they plan on banning the sale of so-called “assault weapons,” limiting the number of handguns an individual can purchase, banning online gun sales, and require background checks for all gun buyers, including buyers who purchase weapons at “gun shows.” The pair also claim that they will require all guns to be fitted with RFID or “smart chips” that tie guns to individual operators (and can likely track use).