Worried buyers hoard ammunition

Published 12:26 am Thursday, January 29, 2009

By Staff
Certain types hardto find in Washington
Staff Writer
Some types of ammunition are becoming difficult to find on gun-store shelves as consumers who fear that new gun-control measures might be implemented soon stock up.
Warren said consumers my get their hands on nearly any type of ammunition, for now, but there may be a wait.
There’s an upswing across the board, but popular sizes of hunting ammunition haven’t been in as short supply as other calibers and gauges, Warren said.
Eddie Stevenson with Madison-based Remington Arms Co. said his company is definitely seeing the upstream face of the buying spree.
So far, the company is holding its own on ammunition production, but there doesn’t seem to be any slackening in customers’ urges to purchase, he said.
Warren said some people are stockpiling ammunition, but the bump in sales is a normal part of the political cycle.
Stevenson said buyers are worried, but they don’t have any specific proposed legislation to point to, yet, that would provide a foundation for their fears.
Warren said buyers are worried that President Obama and Congress will work together to increase taxes on ammunition in a bid to raise revenues and reduce gun use.
Warren said he isn’t alarmed.
Obama supporter Ed Booth, a Beaufort County commissioner and a Democrat, also rejects the notion.
He added: “I know it’s good for the gun dealers … but I don’t think we’ve got anything to worry about.”
Forces other than Obama’s election are causing the increase in ammunition sales, Warren said.
He said supplies of .22-caliber long-rifle ammunition, popular for target shooting and hunting small game, usually hit bottom in January because that type of ammunition is a popular Christmas present. Many children get .22-caliber rifles as their first guns, Warren said.
And demand for .223-caliber ammunition remains high.
That ammunition, which is similar to the 5.56-mm cartridge used by NATO militaries, including the U.S. military, is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the firearms market, Stevenson said.
He said the demand for .223-caliber ammunition isn’t just tied to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also attributed the demand to the increasing popularity of “tactical” gear, which is typically designed along military lines, with other groups.
One of the most popular, and most iconic, tactical guns is the AR-15, the semi-automatic civilian version of the M-16. Remington is owned by the same company that owns Bushmaster Firearms International, which makes the AR-15.
As these streams of demand peak simultaneously, the price of ammunition is finally leveling off, Warren said. The price of ammunition has nearly doubled in the last year and a half, he said.
Stevenson said the cost of raw materials, which had driven the price spike, are finally starting to back off from their earlier highs.