Hunters and target shooters are going to find ammunition in short supply as their neighbours south of the border hoard bullets in anticipation of changes to U.S. gun laws.
In the wake of the worst school shooting in U.S. history, President Barack Obama has called for limits on Americans’ second amendment right to bear arms in favour of gun control.
The U.S. public has responded by buying up weapons and ammo.
Wanstalls, which sells tactical and sporting arms and supplies in Maple Ridge, is already seeing a dearth of the popular .223 calibre rounds, and co-owner Craig Jones anticipates that the massive U.S. demand is going to make popular ammunition such as 9 mm and .45 cal handgun rounds difficult to get.
He said Wanstalls receives most of its ammunition from the U.S., with some coming from Germany and Russia.
“It is worrisome,” he said. “It’s going to get fairly bad.”
Although not wanting to encourage Canadians to hoard, or sound “like a hawk,” he said shooters may want to stock up.
Another possible solution is for shooters to load their own ammunition. He estimates it costs about $500 to buy the necessary equipment to get started.
“It’s very satisfying” he said. “You don’t save a lot of money, you just shoot more. It creates more skill, and you become more familiar with your firearm.”
Ultimately, however, he anticipates it may be almost impossible to obtain shells, primers and other components for shooters to make their own ammunition, until the market goes back to normal.
That’s already becoming the case, said John Parsons, of Custom Reloading Service in Maple Ridge
He sells ammunition and reloading equipment, and is finding that orders for supplies which used to come in four days are now taking up to 16 weeks.
“You can’t give anybody a timeline, or when you’ll have it,” he said. “It’s a huge problem in the United States.”
Already he sees ammunition manufacturers in the U.S. taking product off their public websites, as they work to fill orders for their primary customers. He said the military and police forces are the priority for suppliers in the U.S., and in training exercises they consume ammunition by the semi truckload.
Ammo shortages have happened before – during the second U.S. invasion of Iraq, when police forces worldwide started switching from revolvers to 9 mm handguns, and even when Obama was first elected four years ago.
The gun control debate in the U.S. was reignited after the school shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn., and gun owners have since been hoarding supplies.
“It went crazy,” said Parsons. “Manufacturers can’t keep up.”
People in the ammunition business in the U.S. are telling him to anticipate shortages until after Christmas 2013.