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Nationwide handgun ammunition shortage?

May 7, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Handgun owners, even some law-enforcement agencies, are having a hard time finding bullets. There is an ammunition shortage across the country, including in Southern California.Gun owner Luis Delatorre is on a long quest.

"I've been like for a month already trying to get ammo, so it's hard to find ammo," said gun-owner Delatorre.

His luck didn't change Thursday. Many gun shops around the country are running short of handgun ammunition. Americans are snatching up huge quantities of bullets.

"People are definitely stockpiling ammunition," said Peter Stefansky, Bain & Davis Sporting Goods.

Peter Stefansky runs the Bain & Davis gun shop in San Gabriel. He says people are trying to buy shells by the case these days, and that he's had to start rationing the most popular ammunition.

Stefansky's ammo shelves, usually packed, are now sparse. Plenty of rifle shells are available, but handgun rounds are few and far between, leaving many customers with empty chambers.

"People are just hoarding," said Luis Delatorre. "There's just no bullets to be found. I mean, I've tried on the Internet, there's none to be found."

Customers aren't the only ones frustrated, gun shop owners are finding manufacturers are running their plants 24-7 yet still coming up short on ammunition.

"I call all my wholesalers daily asking what they have on allocation," said Stefansky. "I pre-ordered lots of the ammunition at trade shows at the beginning of the year. Maybe 5 to 10 percent of what I ordered is what I'm actually receiving."

Experts say people are stockpiling ammo because some are worried that the Obama Administration will tighten gun control laws. Others are concerned about self-protection, that the economic crisis will cause violent crime to rise. And of course the United States has two wars to supply.

"We've heard that the military has ordered more than one and a half billion rounds of ammunition this year," said Stefansky.

That even leaves police agencies scavenging around for bullets. Stafansky says he just got a call from one department in the San Diego area looking for 2,000 rounds for a training exercise.

"They called from 100 miles away looking for the ammunition, so they're just going to be out of luck for their training," said Stefansky.

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