Gun shops report ammunition shortages

Published: July 14, 2009 at 10:17 PM

NORFOLK, Va., July 14 (UPI) -- Owners of gun shops in Virginia say the election of President Barack Obama last year has made for brisk sales and even shortages of ammunition.

Robert House, owner of Classic Firearms in Virginia Beach, told The Virginian-Pilot he has been having trouble keeping enough ammunition in stock.

"I've never seen anything like this," House said. "There have been fistfights at gun shows over the last box of ammunition."

Obama's election and the large Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress panicked many gun owners.

"People think they'd better buy while they can," said Ron Hess, who owns a gun shop in Norfolk. "Gun owners just figure that Democrats make screwed-up gun laws."

Hess said his sales are up 40 percent since the election. He said a 50-round box of .380 ammunition sells for $49.95, twice the pre-election price.

One reason for the shortage, ammunition-makers say, is that panic buying tends to be short-lived, while expanding capacity is expensive. There was a spike almost 10 years ago in the run-up to the end of the millennium, when some forecasters predicted widespread violence caused by Y2K computer problems.



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