Ammunition Shelves Bare as U.S. Gun Sales Continue to Soar

SEATTLE (AP) — The COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with record sales of firearms, has fueled a shortage of ammunition in the United States that’s impacting law enforcement agencies, people seeking personal protection, recreational shooters and hunters — and could deny new gun owners the practice they need to handle their weapons safely.

Manufacturers say they’re producing as much ammunition as they can, but many gun store shelves are empty and prices keep rising. Ammunition imports are way up, but at least one U.S. manufacturer is exporting ammo. All while the pandemic, social unrest and a rise in violent crime have prompted millions to buy guns for protection or to take up shooting for sport.

“We have had a number of firearms instructors cancel their registration to our courses because their agency was short on ammo or they were unable to find ammo to purchase,” said Jason Wuestenberg, executive director of the National Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Association.

Doug Tangen, firearms instructor at the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, the police academy for the state, said the academy also has had trouble obtaining ammo.

“A few months ago, we were at a point where our shelves were nearly empty of 9mm ammunition,” he said. In response, instructors took conservation steps like reducing the number of shots fired per drill, which got them through several months until fresh supplies arrived, Tangen said.

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Source: By Martha Bellisle, Associated Press