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Why Ammo's Scarce

The lamestream media told you:

Gun and ammunition sales are up as irrational fears of impending gun restrictions under president Obama drive frightened consumers to buy firearms and stock up on ammunition. Although gun ownership is known to be dangerous, this hasn't stop some fringe elements of the public from hoarding and creating personal arsenals, while the gun industry secretly smiles and enjoys record profits.

The Uninvited Ombudsman notes however that:

Charly Gullet, long-time friend and owner of The American Gunshop in Prescott, Arizona, has his own view of what's really going on:

"If I may, I'd like to offer you my very limited perspective on the "gun-sale boom" for which I have only my own experience and personal analysis.

"Virtually all the lamestream media has dutifully reported the so-called boom, boorishly reciting the ubiquitous November uptick in NICS background checks. The inescapable impression one gets from the nearly non-stop repetition of news video showing "gun owners" standing in line to buy out both guns and ammo is that gun shops and their owners just got stinking rich and are probably sitting somewhere with their feet up sipping champagne while the rest of the Roman economy burns.

"This turns out not to be the case.

"1. In fact, the retail gun business has been off for almost a year and half due to the same economic collapse that the rest of the nation is suffering under and may be about to get dramatically worse for firearms retailers, industry and buyers.

"2. The November and after gun boom in sales (identified by NICS checks) in my experience has been composed of primarily two types of buyers; first-time buyers and scalpers. SMALL gun shops had almost no uptick in November and December (traditionally a holiday uptick period). January was flat (which is typical for the post Xmas VISA depression) and February was up a little bit, but still down compared to two or three or four years ago February results.

"One might be tempted to ask how, given the news coverage, this could possibly be the case? Here is what is not getting above the radar...

"First-time gun buyers are not sophisticated gun owners. They are not even shooters and they certainly are not Second Amendment supporters.

"They are people who have been convinced either by their friends or the media that they are about to become the only person in the neighborhood who does not have an AK47. This kind of buyer does not know where small, privately owned gun shops exist. In their very limited view, big-box stores like Cabella's, or regional commodity shops like J&G Sales here in Prescott are the destinations for both first-time buyers (and the news media) because they don't know anything else. I guarantee you CNN was not in my little shop asking about the champagne.

"Scalpers also do not buy in the small gun shops. Scalpers are looking to buy cases of rifles/pistols/shotguns and truckfuls of ammunition, neither of which is available in the limited inventories of small customer-oriented gun shops.

"It gets worse...

"The net result of the boom was to completely sell out the distribution channel through the big-box stores and create enormous back-orders in the factories. This is disastrous for small business for several reasons. First, small businesses operate on limited inventory and small margins so they must be able to restock turnover. Every new gun (and ammo) sale we have had since November has become a hole on the wall because we can't replace it.

"Worse yet, factory production is both limited and on a staggered schedule. Any given machine builds several products and the machine is re-tooled several times during the year. This means when there is a distribution channel sellout, it takes months for the factories to get any kind of inventory back into the distribution pipe, and in some cases we will not see products in retail again until the end of this year.

"So, on the off chance that a small gun shop has a repeat customer show up with money we are becoming increasingly hard pressed to have anything they want. Most small businesses do not have the financially deep pockets to wait out a recession with no available restocking inventory in distribution.

"Coupled with an already long-term bad economy, this will cause, I believe, a large number of small gun shops to go out of business this year, contrary to the champagne image we are getting in the media. I suspect the media will neither morn nor report the number of Mom-and-Pop gun shops that go out of business.

"The final pain here is the hit to the industry. I know for a fact that Bushmaster is back-ordered by over one million units (as you know, they only build AR15s). Other factories are in similar situations. Because of the enormity of the back-order, Bushmaster hascancelled all innovative product development (including the much trumpetedMasada ACR) in order to put the entire labor force onto back-order production. We will now have no new products this year and maybe none next year. Stagnation in innovation is poison in any market.

"And we did all this for what reason? If anybody is drinking champagne, its Obama, who is showing more teeth than a long-eared mule with a bucket of Prozac.

"Looking forward to seeing you third weekend in April, when you come to town with your band, The Cartridge Family.

"Warm regards, Charly"


Guy Sagi

Well I don't know about the comment that first-time buyers are not supporters of the Second Amendment.

They may not have been in this fight in the past, but most of them are in it now, which is a good thing. We're going to need all the help we can get.

Enness Arnold

BINGO!...BINGO!...And BINGO AGAIN! or, should I be saying Bullseye? You hit it right on the head for my small pop shop in SE AZ. EVERYTHING that was said describes my situation for the last three years right down to the tee! ...Even the part of seriously considering closing my doors. I am the only shop in town and my customers say it would be a hardship on them if I do close. ...And the gun club I spent years getting on it's feet would probably crumble without the services of my shop. I simply cannot fathom how a nation that was able to tool up a weapons and ammunition power house and win a world war cannot produce ammunition at a time when the industry needs it most. Excuse me for the untrusting nature of my disciplined soul but, I smell a skunk in the wood pile. Annie, get my gun...what do you mean there are no shells?


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About the Author

  • Freelance writer Alan Korwin is a founder and past president of the Arizona Book Publishing Association. With his wife Cheryl he operates Bloomfield Press, the largest producer and distributor of gun-law books in the country. Here writing as "The Uninvited Ombudsman," Alan covers the day's stories as they ought to read. Read more.

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