A series of events, described as a "perfect storm" by one gun store manager, led to firearms sales increases of historic proportions. While increased gun sales were a reason to celebrate, it caused an unintended consequence - gun and ammunition shortage across the country.
Empty shelves now stare at worried customers trying to buy at least a few rounds for sporting or self-defense. New gun owners anticipating owning their first firearm go home empty-handed as the shortage of weapons continues to bite.
Many stores have created various rules to address the ammunition shortage crisis. For example, in Lynchburg, Virginia, Safeside Tactical gun store put up signs advising customers to pick only a single box of ammunition per caliber within a day. Mitchell Tyler, the store manager, told ABC affiliate WSET News that inventory levels were down by between 50 to 70%.
"The components that we would typically order per quarter, we really need 10 times that amount," Tyler said.
Even for Gun shops that produce their ammunition like Safeside Tactical, supplies were hampered, thus hindering their capacity to produce enough ammunition to cover the rising demand.
Another store operator, Indian Rock Tactical gun store manager Jason Campbell, says the shortage was like nothing they've witnessed in the past. He added that dozens of new firearm buyers flocked every day to his stores intending to buy guns.
"I've never owned a firearm, I've never touched a firearm, but I feel like I need to own one," Campbell told WSET.
Justin Gaiche, Chase Outdoors gun store operator in Rothschild, Wisconsin, told WSAW-TV that he could dedicate staff to answering customer calls inquiring about firearms, ammunition, and components.
"We receive literally hundreds of phone calls every day looking for that stuff. I could have two full-time guys answering the phone and saying yes or no to what we have," Gaiche said.
He pointed out that nationwide riots and the elections contributed to the increase in gun purchases.
"Sales are up so much, which is directly related to COVID, BLM (Black Lives Matter), rioting, and the election, stuff like that. But before any of this even happened, Sports shooting and active participants in conceal carry, and personal defense has been on a steady rise for years now," Gaiche concluded.
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