Gun Owners Stockpiling Ammo in Anticipation of Tougher Regulation

Photo by flickr user <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/kcdstm/2221475782/" target="new">kcdsTM</a> used under a Creative Commons license

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The economy is in the toilet, but there’s at least one industry that appears to be going great guns (sorry…): the firearms business, particularly the firms that manufacture ammunition for American gun owners. You may have read Yasha Levine’s piece about the surge in ammo sales in Victorville, California, where, Levine reports, fears of tighter gun regulations under the Obama administration have given way to a new kind of arms race.

The same phenomenon exists in Montana. According to the Missoulian, ammo is racing off the shelves at a record pace. Darren Newsom, owner of Bitterroot Valley Ammunition’s three local manufacturing facilities, told a reporter that his company produces 300,000 rounds a day, but is still unable to meet demand. “We probably have about six months of back orders right now,” he said, adding that he sold more than 300,000 rounds in just two hours at a recent gun show. “It’s just unreal… Somewhere in lots of basements around the country, there are millions of rounds of ammunition being stored.” 

Turns out that fear of Obama’s doomsday gun laws has been of great benefit to the local economy. Maybe it’s all part of his grand strategy for economic recovery? From the Missoulian:

The ammunition shortage is creating a bit of an economic boon for Ravalli County.

Newsom plans to open a fourth manufacturing facility in Stevensville sometime in September. He employs about 50 people right now and could add up to another 100.

“There are a lot of people out of work right now,” he said. “Two years ago, I probably couldn’t find 10 people to go to work for us. Now I have 10 people a day coming in here looking for a job.”

Newsom believes the need for ammunition won’t go away. This scare is creating a whole new group of ammunition customers for the future, he said.

Need proof?

Take the .380 caliber pistol. A year ago, Newsom said there was hardly a demand for the ammunition. Since then, the .380 auto pistol has become very popular with women.

“One year ago, it wasn’t in demand and now it’s some of the most sought ammunition in the U.S.,” he said. “There are more people getting into shooting and that’s one thing about ammunition – you can only shoot it once.”

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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