Newtown, Aurora, Tucson, Fort Hood, Columbine — names that have become synonymous for mass murders at the hands of mentally unbalanced people in control of high-powered assault weapons — are at the heart of gun-owners stockpiling ammunition.
Bud Smithson, former state representative and owner of Iron Sights, a gun shop in Sallisaw, said the stockpiling of ammunitions boils down to a fear of the unknown.
“People are afraid they won’t be able to get it anymore. They are afraid the prices will skyrocket. They’re afraid of self-expiring ammo. They’re afraid of what they don’t know is going to happen,” Smithson said.
Consumers stockpiling ammunition only adds to the problem, as far as Smithson is concerned.
“Stockpiling makes prices go higher. As the scare of not being able to get it anymore goes down, the prices will come back down,” he said.
“The demand has far outstripped the supply,” Jerry Simon, owner of Simon’s Ace Hardware in Vian, said.
“Everybody’s hoarding it and stockpiling because people are afraid of what’s coming,” Simon said.
Smithson pointed to a display that a few months ago sold for about $8, which is now going for more than $11.
“My supplier asked me if I had any at all. Then he asked me how much I was charging and he told me I should be charging closer to $25,” Smithson said he did not feel that price gouging was the best answer.
Simon doesn’t believe the demand will diminish any time soon and it will be a long time before supply catches up with demand.
Smithson said changes are undoubtedly coming, but he feels the main target will be the high-powered assault weapons and large, multi-round clips.
“The shooting at Aurora (Colo.) really got the ball started for control of these guns. Now, the shooting in Connecticut has really spurred a movement for gun control,” Smithson said.
Ammunition inventory at Iron Sights has been hit hard since the pre-Christmas shooting.
Smithson said .22 caliber, the .223 and .380 caliber shells are the hardest to come by and Simon agrees.
It’s not just the manufactured ammunition that is disappearing, but also the materials necessary to do reloads.
“The manufacturers can’t produce the items fast enough to keep the shelves stocked,” Smithson said.
Smithson doesn’t feel that pending laws will target weapons of self-defense or hunting guns, but will probably focus on the assault weapons.
Smithson pointed to a stack of large clips. “These were selling for $5 to $8. Now they’re going for $40.
“Gun laws, for the most part, affect the honest people. The best thing that can happen is to tighten up on the Brady laws and do stricter background checks,” Smithson said.
Smithson believes tightening background checks on gun buyers at gun shows and strictly enforcing second-party purchases (straw purchases) is the key to gun control.
He’s not sure about allowing teachers and administrators to carry weapons to school.
He said there are alternatives, such as a powerful pepper-spray paste shooter, which he says is quite effective at stopping someone.