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John Martin, owner of Shooter's Depot in Chattanooga, says demand has been so high for ammunition he has had to limit his stock to range members and not allow retail sales.(Photo: John Rawlston, AP)

Ammo shortage hitting gun owners, dealers hard

The nation's run on guns continues, and now gun owners and dealers say there's a huge shortage of ammunition that's leaving shelves bare and guns unloaded.

"It'd be like like running a restaurant and I can't put any food on your plate," complains Monty VanHoy, owner of Top Guns in Shoreline.

VanHoy says since President Obama was reelected, gun owners have been stocking up out of fear new laws would limit their access to guns and ammo. Months later, ammo makers still can't keep up.

"I've had calls all the way from Arizona, New Mexico, all over the United States for different calibers," VanHoy says.

It's more than just an inconvenience for gun owners. It's costing VanHoy and dealers nationwide thousands of dollars in lost sales every month.

"One of our customers drove all the way from Spokane just to get two boxes, decided to spend the night so he could buy two boxes today and drive back home," says Howard Walter with Wade's Guns in Bellevue, which is limiting sales of hard to get calibers including .22.

Walter says Wade's is at least in better shape than most dealers because the owner foresaw the shortage coming and stocked up before the election.

Walter says along with individuals stockpiling, The Department of Homeland Security and other agencies have been buying large amounts of several types of ammunition as well, further tapping the supply.

Going online isn't any better. Shoppers are finding most ammo is out of stock at even the biggest retailers.

"The warehouses are empty. We can't keep up," says VanHoy. And he says things aren't expected to improve any time soon. "By the time it comes in, there are so many back orders for people that are out of it they're gone probably within the first 30 minutes and a lot of places are only allowing one box per person."


Josh Kerns, MyNorthwest.com
Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter/anchor and host of KIRO Radio's Seattle Sounds (Sunday afternoons 5-6p) and a digital content producer for MyNorthwest.com.
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