Since the election we’ve all seen the news about gun and ammunition sales being brisk at least. We have seen increased foot traffic in our store and sold quite a few guns and ammunition. To be honest we have not seen the crazy sells in the news. Black Friday sales hit a record based on NICS records, exceeding the previous year background checks by 20 percent. It is true there were delays in getting through. It took me three hours to get passed the “all circuits are busy” message until I finally got put on hold for fifteen minutes to do a background check. But along with these brisk sales there are numerous rumors going around. So here is my attempt to tell some truths and dispel some myths and rumors coming from someone who is in the business every day.
First, it is true that AR style (Modern Sporting – MSR) rifles are selling fast. We don’t sell that many to begin with but have sold more in the last month than we normally do in six months. There are also many folks asking questions about MSRs and making that first purchase. What this means for the person looking for a MSR is the purchase options are now more limited. The low priced ARs are long gone. Everything we have or are able to get through our suppliers retail for over $1,000. It also means that the person wanting to build their own AR will have trouble finding components. Stripped lowers, parts kits, and uppers are nearly non-existent. They are all going to build complete guns. My advice: be patient because sales will slow down and supply will soon catch up with demand.
Let’s address ammo. Yep, sales are brisk especially .223/5.56 for the above rifles. We sold over 5,000 rounds in bulk packs the first week after the election. This ammunition is now allocated by wholesalers, which means we get limited quantities with an order, usually one or two cases. To the person coming in the gun shop that usually means they will have to buy a few boxes at a time or if in bulk it will be 200-500 rounds in a pack. There are also shortages of .22 Long Rifle ammo, again in mostly in bulk packs. As a retailer I have to work hard and contact several suppliers to find .22 LR ammo in 333 or 525 bulk packs.
I’m not seeing shortages in most handgun ammunition. Again, 9mm Luger target ammunition is typically allocated per order. We have no choice but to sell by individual boxes. One thing I have noticed is that ammunition prices are starting to trend upwards. They are not huge increases but enough to make it more difficult to have ammo sales. Wholesalers also are no longer offering discounts on ammo.
The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty is no myth. The day after the election President Obama’s representative at the U.N. asked them to bring it back up for a vote in March 2013. This is after they asked for a delay in July because they had some concerns about provisions in the treaty. No changes were made. In all likelihood the treaty will not pass Senate ratification but stranger things have happened. It does bear close watching. Some think President Obama may try to implement certain parts of the treaty prior to ratification.
Here’s my personal favorite rumor. Many people say “they” can’t take away guns so they are going to restrict access to ammunition. Someone came in the store last week wanting to know when the new law restricting the amount of ammunition you could buy in one month went into effect. Seriously? Think about this. There is no requirement for me to record information or to report individual purchases of large quantities of ammo. There is no place to report it to. So how would they implement that? Ain’t gonna happen any time soon. We do need to watch the effort by environmental groups to ban the use of lead in ammo.
There is also word going around that to bypass Congress and restrict ownership of large capacity semi-auto rifles President Obama will direct ATF to reclassify them at Type II weapons, requiring a special tax stamp and registration. That one has some possibilities except for one thing: the Republican House has said it will withdraw all funding for ATF if they try to do it.
So those are the truths and rumors. As they fly we will keep you posted.