Run on guns sends ammo sales soaring

SPOKANE, Wash. - The run on guns is causing an ammunition shortage nationwide and local law enforcement agencies are feeling the pain.

According to the FBI's National Instant Background Check System, 519,209 firearm background checks were ordered in Washington State in 2012. In December alone, more than 74,000 checks were initiated, more than any other month. When compared to 2011, 2012's numbers were up 31-percent.

With more background checks and guns being obtained by citizens there's a run on ammunition, too. At the General Store in Spokane sales are up 280-percent in the first 18 days of 2013.

ammo shortage

"Most people come in looking for .223 ammunition, but we are selling a lot of everything else as well. We're out of the most common stuff, the inexpensive stuff, even the handgun ammunition," General Manager John Evans said.

Normally, the General Store will have made $14,000 in sales by now, but they're up to $40,000 thanks to this run on guns and ammo. That's great news for businesses, but for police this means trouble.

In a press release Monday, the Moses Lake Police Department said their ammunition is on back order.

"We're okay for this year," Captain Dave Ruffin said. "We kind of expect the market to be saturated within a couple of months and supply should begin to ease. This is also dependent on what kinds of regulations come out of Washington on gun control issues."

If the ammunition continues to be in short supply, Ruffin said the department will have to make some adjustments.

Both the Moses Lake Police Department and the General Store cite President Barack Obama's proposal for a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines as the cause for the rush on ammunition.