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By NWV News writer Jim Kouri
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
September 26, 2009

While the dismal economic picture in America hasn't caused "bank runs" wherein customers demand to withdraw their savings from banks across the country -- a frequent occurrence during the Great Depression -- gun owners are causing a run of their own: a national "gun shop run" for ammunition.

Ammunition manufacturers report their factories are producing ammunition at record rates and keeping their facilities operating 24/7. Yet, they still cannot keep up with the demand for bullets for everything from handguns to hunting rifles.

Gun store owners and manufacturers claim this is the first time they have ever seen such a drastic shortage in ammunition. According to gun rights activists and enthusiasts, ammunition is a scarce commodity and has been getting scarcer this year.

"I have never seen such a situation in all my years as a gun owner, hunter and cop," said Edna Aquino, a New York police officer and shooting instructor.

"I'm hearing from fellow shooters that they are stockpiling ammunition these days because they are afraid of what they're seeing in this country," she said.

Aquino and others believe that after passing their health care plan, President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress will pass more antigun legislation. These gun owners do not believe the rhetoric of the politicians on the left who claim they support gun ownership, but propose all types of new laws and regulations.

When the left-leaning Barack Obama was inaugurated President of the United States last January, gun sales increased substantially. The Federal Bureau of Investigation reported over six million new requests for pre-sale in the first five months of 2009. According to the FBI, there was a 26% increase in these mandatory background checks for gun sales.

"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."

When gun groups questioned the reason for the current situation, they were told by the government that part of the shortage is caused by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, according to political strategist Mike Baker, that excuse doesn't "pass the smell test."

"The US military uses different types of weapons than civilian gun owners, for the most part. Different types of weapons means different types of ammo," he said.

American gun owners usually purchase about seven billion rounds of ammo annually, according to the National Rifle Association. However, in the past year the NRA says Americans bought two billion more bullets than usual.

"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," said one New Jersey gun dealer.

He points to the latest trend in the never ending government regulation of gun ownership: Ammo Control.

"Gun control fanatics, frustrated in their attempts to impose severely restrictive regulations on the gun rights of law-abiding American citizens, apparently think that if they push severe restrictions on ammunition acquisition and possession, they'll come closer to their objective of restricting if not eliminating the individual Second Amendment civil right to keep and bear arms," says John M. Snyder, known as "Washington's senior gun rights activist."

"Ever since the so-called 'Beltway Sniper' case in 2001, there's been talk about not just gun registration, but ammo registration. This will make it mandatory for manufacturers of firearms ammunition to number every cartridge they make and to keep records of those cartridges," said Lt. Steven Rodgers, a cop in New Jersey.


"Can't control guns? Well, they'll control the ammunition," he added.

While a federal law is being considered by proponents of such laws, gun owners in individual states are witnessing what's referred to as Ammunition Accountability Acts being pushed through they're state legislatures by impatient lawmakers.

Ammunition Accountability, a liberal gun control organization, has developed sample legislation to achieve its purposes and reports that versions of it have been introduced in the legislatures of Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington, according to John Snyder.

The sample legislation stipulates that, “each year in the United States, more than 30 percent of all homicides that involve a gun go unsolved; handgun ammunition accounts for 80 percent of all ammunition sold in the United States; current technology for matching a bullet used in a crime to the gun that fired it has worked moderately well for years, but presupposes that the weapon was recovered by law enforcement;” and “bullet coding is a new and effective way for law enforcement to quickly identify persons of interest in gun crime investigations.”

In addition to the problem of ammunition scarcity, gun owners must contend with rising prices making it more costly to visit firing ranges. There are even retailers who are limiting the number of boxes a buyer may purchase. As a result, buyers are searching for gun stores that will allow them to purchase cases of ammo to be stockpiled in their homes.

Why are Americans scrambling to purchase guns and ammunition in record numbers? Many say it's their fear of the political climate in the United States.

Jan Norton, a teacher in New Jersey and lifelong target shooter, believes it started with the report issued by the Homeland Security Department identifying pro-life, pro-gun, anti-government Americans as potential terrorists.

"While the Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano backed away from that report, there are others who've contributed to increasing the fears of law-abiding citizens who happen to have conservative or libertarian political views," she said.

In an unclassified report entitled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment," Napolitano and her agency included the following description of "extremists:"

"Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration."

Also, US Congressman Alcee Hastings’ (D-FL) introduced an amendment to the 2010 National Defense Authorization bill which will prohibit the recruitment, enlistment, or retention of persons with known affiliations to "groups determined by the Attorney General to be of a violent, extremist nature."

The Hastings Amendment confers upon the Attorney General the ability to categorize groups as hate groups, and this sounds an alarm for many Americans because of the recent shocking and offensive report released by the Department of Homeland Security which labeled, arguably, a majority of Americans as "extremists."

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Ammunition manufacturers believe that once gun owners believe they've purchased a sufficient amount of ammo, there will be more to go around. However, the solution to ammo shortages is merely a symptom of a much larger problem: a distrust of all branches of government.

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Gun store owners and manufacturers claim this is the first time they have ever seen such a drastic shortage in ammunition. According to gun rights activists and enthusiasts, ammunition is a scarce commodity and has been getting scarcer this year.