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Ammo shortage in valley stores frustrates customers

February 1st, 2013 Posted in Opinion

Story and photo by Jonathan Larson

NORTH LOGAN – For more than two months, the sporting goods department at Walmart has been inundated with calls every morning from customers asking about the latest shipments of firearms and ammunition. To the customers’ frustration, Walmart and other local businesses have been unable to meet the unusually high demands of Cache Valley residents.

Shelves for ammunition stand nearly empty in Cache Valley sporting goods stores. Photo by Jonathan Larson.

Shelves for ammunition stand nearly empty in Cache Valley sporting goods stores. Photo by Jonathan Larson.

“This really has been nationwide and I think it all initially started with the shooting at Sandy Hook,” Al’s Sporting Goods  sales associate Mr. Wyatt said. “That was a real tragedy and since then, we’ve had people come in who are concerned about their own safety looking for smaller handguns to carry concealed.”

“We’re seeing a lot more people getting their concealed weapons permits now and they come in to get their first guns and ammo,” Walmart sporting goods associate Scott Harris said. “People have also been coming in and buying ammo simply so that they can stockpile it.”

Many businesses in the valley have been unable to stock ammunition fast enough. This is partially due to the demand throughout the country on the suppliers. Walmart has continued receiving shipments from ammunition companies but sometimes will go three weeks between deliveries.

According to Wyatt and Harris, many people have voiced irritation when they are unable to purchase what they are looking for.

“We’re always out of .22, .223 and 9mm,” Harris said. “We’re out of a lot of rounds and a lot of calibers. As soon as we get some in, it is sold. We can’t even put it on the shelf because people buy it before we can get it there.”

Harris believes that the recent demand has been caused by fear of a potential crackdown by the federal government on assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and certain calibers such as .223.

“We’ve been having this problem ever since President Obama got reelected,” Harris said. “It got even worse after he put forth his 23 executive actions. People are panicking.”

While the full extent of the changes that will be enacted under the actions issued by President Obama and future gun-control laws passed by Congress are unknown, Obama has said that his aim is to strengthen background checks and expand school safety programs.


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