Current ammunition shortages are driven by consumer demand, which has spiked due to the ongoing attacks on gun owners’ rights by Progressives. But that’s where the government involvement ends.
DHS and other federal agencies are NOT the problem with suppy. Since Moby Dick was a minnow the feds have been buying and shooting millions of rounds of ammo a year. Federal agents qualify with high quality carry ammo four times a year. The feds only shoot what they carry. Each agent can easily shoot 1,000+ rounds during their annual training and practice sessions.
The feds don’t by .22LR and buy a tiny amount of 9mm since most agents now carry .40S&W and .357SIG handguns. In fact, the ammo that DHS buys has never been sold by Walmart, Academy Sports or any other popular retail outlet.
The Internet is filled with stories about the Department of Homeland Security allegedly buying 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition. The feds are buying ammunition lots of ammo as they always have but not that much and not all at once.
DHS has a contract to buy up to 750 million rounds of ammo over the next five years. That ammo is for 90 federal agencies to use at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.
A separate five-year contract allows DHS to buy up to 450 million rounds of ammo for federal law enforcement agents like the Secret Service, Border Border, Customs, ICE and Homeland Security Investigations and the Coast Guard. These agencies employ about 100,000 law enforcement personnel.
If you add it up, the government contracts are for up to 1.2 billion rounds. But that’s the ceiling and doesn’t mean that’s how much the government will buy. Plus, it’s spread out over the next five years.
In fact, over the last three years DHS has actually purchased fewer rounds of ammunition each year. The number of rounds purchased has fallen from 148.3 million in fiscal 2010 to 103.2 million rounds in 2012.
The federal government is combining several contracts and basically buying in bulk “to leverage the purchasing power of the entire Department to efficiently procure equipment and supplies at significantly lower costs.” Again, this has been going on since at least 1976 when I started working for the Secret Service, which like Customs was under the Department of the Treasury and have now been moved to DHS.
One of major government suppliers of ammo is Federal Premium Ammunition. A statement on the company’s website says the DHS contract “…makes up a very small percentage of our total ammunition output. This contract is not taking ammunition away from civilians.”
A spokesman for the ammo maker says “The current increase in demand is attributed to the civilian market. Our production volumes on government contracts have been stable since the mid-2000s.”
I’ve been following the gun, ammo and magazine shortage since Sandy Hook. There are a number of factors, including tens of millions of new gun owners since 2008 (when Obama was elected) and the progressive agenda, which keeps gun control in the daily news, that are causing the shortage.
The primary cause of the current civilian ammo shortage is GREED. “Truck Greeters” stand on line for hours waiting at Walmart, Academy Sports and other large retailers, and they buy up the supply, 3 boxes at a time. As the line grows, more ammo goes and the supply is diminished in 15-30 minutes.
The ammo that the Truck Greeters are buying up is not being shot, it’s being re-sold at a 500-1,000% mark-up. Popular .22LR which was selling for .03-.05 cents a round in 2012 is being routinely resold online, at gun shows and in flea markets for .35+ cents a round. Do the math.
Since Obama was elected in 2008 about 75 million new guns have been sold to civilians in the United States. You can find guns and magazines but you can’t find ammo unless you are willing to stand in line for hours or pay premium prices. Yes, it’s price gouging but it’s not illegal.
The bottom line is the problem is not the government, it’s the gun community, specifically a greedy few who are buying up all the ammo and selling it for 5 to 10 times the amount they purchased it for at Walmart.
I believe a significant portion of this ammo is making it’s way to small retailer and large online sellers. It’s a “Dirty” little secret. Look no further than Glen Beck’s radio show and the Sportsman Channel to find one of the most greedy culprits. They’re selling millions of rounds, but believe me, it ain’t “Cheap”.
It’s true that the gun and ammo manufacturers have raised their prices, but the rise is closer to 10% or less, not 1000%. They are both working overtime, having adding shifts to meet demand. But demand is not going to be met until the supply side can be replenished.
Every round that arrives at every retail outlet is gone within an hour. The ammo is then marked up and sold to desperate buyers at 500+% premium. There’s a simple solution to this problem. STOP BUYING AMMO.
If you are down to zero and can’t load your guns, find some ammo this month. BUT THEN STOP BUYING AMMO. If you don’t have a gun, buy it this month and find one box of ammo before June 1.
If nobody purchases a single round of ammo during the month of June, the retailers will be able to re-stock their supply and the shelves will be full on July 1. The greedy truck greeters will be forced to lower their prices in July to compete. By August 1, the supply problem would be solved. Of course higher prices are not going away. But 10-20% is a lot better than 500-1000% if I remember my grade school math correctly.
Of course the ammo boycott is not going to happen and the problem is going to continue. But at some point the market will correct. Unfortunately, it’s going to cost more as manufacturers and suppliers will continue to raise their prices. You can thank the greedy truck greeters for this next time you show up at Walmart and see more than a dozen of them waiting in line for the 7 o’clock truck!
When it comes to the ammo shortage, we have identified the enemy, and the enemy is us. Greedy gun guys are the problem. A June ammo buying boycott is the solution.