David LaPell writes [via [Ammoland.com]: I recently had a discussion with a gun owner about the availability and cost of ammunition. Only a couple of years ago, it was scarce and expensive — when you could find it. Did he think the availability of conventional ammunition could ever get bad again? He laughed . . .
With Donald Trump in office, gun control laws at the federal level were likely to be impossible. Besides, there was plenty of ammo out there. So what was there to worry about and why bother with ammunition hoarding?
So is ammunition hoarding crisis over? Have we nothing to fear, or are we just lulling ourselves into a false sense of security?
The History We Should Learn From?
Up until the last year or so, the availability of ammunition in many places was scarce, especially for popular calibers like .22 Long Rifle and .22 Magnum. The cost skyrocketed — to put it mildly.
I remember seeing a single fifty round box of Federal .22 Long Rifle ammunition with a price tag of $22 on it. I recall the owner of another shop taking five hundred round bricks of .22 LR, splitting them up and putting a hundred rounds in a Ziplock bag and asking $15 for each bag.
There was a lot of hoarding going on, and a lot of price gouging. There were stories, some true, of big box store employees hiding ammo for their friends, while many people tried to hunt down what they could just to have on hand.
We now seem to be in a time of ammunition plenty. Even here in New York, I can get as much .22 LR ammo and other caliber ammunition for reasonable prices.
You can find .22 Magnum ammunition again when a little more than a year and a half ago, I didn’t see a box of it on a shelf anywhere for over six months.
No one is rushing out to line up at the local big box store waiting to see when the truck delivers the ammunition so they can get their three boxes. But we should be very mindful that those times can very quickly come back again.
To Horde or Not to Hoard?
While “hoard” may seem like a mean, selfish word, gun owners shouldn’t wait to a political or physical disaster to buy “spare” ammunition.
I don’t mean gun owners should run out and grab every box of ammo they can afford and/or carry. Panic buying is part of what got us into the mess of high prices and no ammunition in the first place, and there’s only so much ammunition you can store/use/sell.
But a sensible gun owner should always have plenty of “extra” ammo on hand.
If you have a .22 Long Rifle, I can’t tell you how much stored ammunition you should have at all times. That depends on how much you and your family shoot and your idea of how long any future ammo-buying difficulty might last.
I would indeed have more than a couple of hundred rounds stored-up. The same goes for .22 Magnum. 9mm? .45? That too. And certainly I’d keep a thousand of so cartridges of any less mainstream caliber your firearms require.
How hard is it to build up a supply? Not hard at all. When you go to the gun shop and you have a few extra dollars in your pocket, grab a box of ammo while you’re there.
Paying a few dollars here and now is better than paying three or four times that much if you really need it and there are ten guys after the same box. It is like investing in your IRA, a little at at time pays off big.
The Next Ammo Shortage Could be Worse
What at one time might have been far-fetched, is now becoming more like a probability that, eventually, somewhere at some time in this country, there will be another ammunition shortage. And it could be sooner than you think.
In a couple of years we may well endure another change in power in Washington, swinging, perhaps wildly, to the anti-gun rights left. They already have ammo in their legislative sights.
Consider the new ammo buying laws in California, where it’s no longer legal to have ammo delivered to your door, where residents will soon have to have a background check for each and every ammunition purchase.
It could be a sign of things to come. Especially if you live in New York, where the same provisions lie (temporarily?) dormant in the SAFE Act.
The new terms and conditions will drive up the price of ammo. And create the possibility of limiting ammunition purchases. Choke the supply, increase the demand (by choking the supply), and prices go soaring. Again. Only worse.
You make an emergency kit with food and water stored in case of a disaster. You [should] put snow tires on your car when winter comes. You put smoke detectors in your house in case of a fire. Why wouldn’t you at least keep some ammunition aside?
You don’t wait until you’re in an emergency before you secure the means to deal with it. I say ammunition hoarding is a good thing and I plan to keep stocking up. You?
David LaPell has been a Corrections Officer with the local Sheriff’s Department for thirteen years. A collector of antique and vintage firearms for over twenty years and an avid hunter. David has been writing articles about firearms, hunting and western history for ten years. In addition to having a passion for vintage guns, he is also a fan of old trucks and has written articles on those as well.