Reports of local law enforcement agencies dealing with ammo shortages has some pointing to a spree of purchases since the federal government began tough talk on banning certain types of firearms.
Jacksonville Police Deputy Chief Tim Shea says the department currently has an adequate supply of ammunition for its rifles and handguns that is replaced once a year, but he says it may take longer to acquire the same supplies in the future.
“We’re calling around and inquiring as to how long it would take to get ammunition. We’re looking at anywhere from six months to a year now to purchase some of this ammunition,” says Shea. “So, we will probably be very thrifty with what we have [and] get our orders in as soon as we can so we do not run into any shortages.”
Shea says a great majority of the bullets the police department uses are for practice. Newly-hired officers use about 1,000 rounds during police academy training. All of the officers have to shoot a certain score at the JPD’s training facility once a year based on 30 rounds of ammunition.
“It’s a skill that perishes if you don’t use it,” he says. “You have to stay on top of it and train continuously with that.”
The Morgan County Sheriff’s Department acquires bullets through a state-bid private contractor about every four months. The department says it will next bid on more ammunition next month.
While some are pointing to the nationwide gun-buying binge as the reason for shortages, others like Tim Holmes, the owner of Military Surplus Outlet in South Jacksonville, points to reports that the Department of Homeland Security is stockpiling billions of rounds of ammo.
Holmes says every gun, ammunition and set of clips being discussed by politicians these days is selling well.
“People are buying guns, period, but the first ones that’s going out is the paramilitary. They can’t make ammunition fast enough, the demand is so great,” says Holmes. “Whenever the government talks about taking them away, that’s when people start buying them. Obama sold more guns than Clinton ever thought of.”
Holmes says some of the weapons being referred to by many as “assault weapons” have sold out five times in the last month or so. He says he’s making less per gun sale- prices have jumped over 50 percent in some cases- but he says he’s selling more of them.