The Sure Shot has been forced to limit the amount of ammo each customer buys due to the short supply. | Austin Nelson

Archived Story

No guns, no ammo

Published 11:47am Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dealers say firearms, bullets in short supply

It’s Wednesday around noon, and the barstools at local firearm supply store The Sure Shot are mostly full.

A delivery driver walks through the door, and owner Woody Baird perks up behind the counter.

“Do you have a delivery for me?” Baird asks.

The man shakes his head and replies ‘no, but I bet you wish I had some ammunition for you.”

Baird lets out a shallow laugh, but it’s a situation that is becoming harder to laugh at as the days go on.

The bottom line is Baird is in the gun and ammo business – and it’s been weeks since he’s been able to purchase anything.

“Right now, we are unable to purchase anything from my suppliers,” Baird said. “We should be getting stuff in at some point, but we just don’t know when.”

Immediately following the election, Baird said that sales of modern sporting rifles and ammo went through the roof. Now, however, it seems the spike in gun and ammo sales has spread to include most calibers and models – including extremely common rounds such as .22 caliber long rifle.

“I haven’t been able to get any .22 long rifle rounds in weeks,” Baird said. “Even things like .38 special rounds – we had 5,000, but we have ran out completely.”

Baird said he is still waiting on orders he placed last February.

“The fortunate thing was we were extremely heavy in inventory,” Baird said.

Even local law enforcement are feeling the sting of the ammo and firearm shortage.

Lt. Marty Hodge, training coordinator for Alexander City Police Department, said that he couldn’t get any bulk ammo right now if he wanted to.

“I order all of our ammo at the end of the year – if I had not have done that, we would have trouble getting it,” Hodge said. “Even our suppliers are having trouble.”

Hodge said ACPD goes through several thousands of rounds each year for training purposes.

“They told us a week ago that if we needed any, it would have to come straight from the factory and take a couple of months,” Hodge said. “I intend on putting our order in a lot earlier this year.”

Baird said for the most part customers have been understanding. A few, however, just can’t believe there are no guns left to buy.

“I had a gentleman come in that asked me if I could order him a handgun,” Baird said. “He asked how long it would take to get here, and I told him I didn’t know.”

Baird said the man still was not convinced. Rather than try to argue, Baird showed him the National Firearms Dealer Network website on his computer.

“NFDN shows the inventory of four of the largest wholesalers in the Southeast,” Baird said. “So I typed in ‘Glock’ and flipped the screen around so he could see it. It was page after page of 0 in stock.”

Baird said he believes the run on guns and ammo stems from uncertainty regarding proposed gun legislation. President Barack Obama announced Wednesday morning that he has 23 executive actions he believes will reduce gun violence. Within minutes of that announcement, Baird said his phone started ringing.

“(Obama) wasn’t off the screen for five minutes and people started calling us asking me ‘What does this mean?’” Baird said. “It is going to create another panic, but the problem is there is nothing to buy.”

All Baird can do is sit, wait and watch as his inventory dwindles down to nothing. However, no matter how low his stock gets, Baird said he isn’t going to follow the lead of some other, less scrupulous gun dealers.

“We have unscrupulous spectators that are selling at twice the cost – I have vowed not to go there,” Baird said. “There is gouging going on everywhere. If people would quit paying it, it would stop.”