It's been previously reported that when President Obama was elected last fall, gun sales skyrocketed over fears that Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress would impose strict gun laws. All of those extra guns needs bullets to be effective, and the rush to lock-and-load has now led to a bullet shortage.
"It's a phenomenon that I have not seen before in my 30 years in the business," said Al Russo, spokesman for North Carolina-based Remington Arms Company, which makes bullets for rifles, handguns and shotguns. "We are working overtime and still can't keep up with the demand. We've had to add a fourth shift and go 24-7."
The FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System reported that 6.1 million background checks for gun sales were issued from January to May, an increase of 25.6 percent from the same period the year before.
"That is going to cause an upswing in ammunition sales," said Larry Keane, senior vice president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association representing about 5,000 members. "Without bullets a gun is just a paper weight."
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To keep those guns off of desks and in the hands of their owners, Americans usually buy about 7 billion rounds of ammunition a year, according to the National Rifle Association. In the past year, that figure has jumped to about 9 billion rounds, said NRA spokeswoman Vickie Cieplak.
Walmart, the nation's largest retailer, reports that demand has been so heavy at some stories, it had to impose a limit on the amount of ammo customers can buy. The cutoff varies according to caliber and store location, but sometimes as little as one box -- just 50 measly bullets -- is allowed.
"I call it the Obama effect," said Jason Gregory, who manages Gretna Gun Works just outside of New Orleans. "It always happens when the Democrats get in office. It happened with Clinton and Obama is even stronger for gun control. Ammunition will be the first step, so I'm stocking up while I can." Gregory's quest is to have 1000 rounds for each of his 25 weapons.
The thing of it is, despite all the fear of Obama and his alleged liberal gun-hating ways, he has yet to propose a single piece of legislation that would restrict gun ownership. In fact, last month he signed a controversial bill that allows people to carry loaded guns in national parks.
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Obama has said he respects the Second Amendment, but favors "common sense" on gun laws. Some gun owners, perhaps not used to using common sense, especially when it comes to their guns, fear what that could mean.