[EDITOR'S NOTE — Due to an editing error, key paragraphs were omitted from the print version of this story. They have been restored to this online version.]
A local firearms instructor and a local firearms dealer say all the talk about government attempts to reduce access to guns has caused a shortage of ammunition.
Joe Schoolcraft Burkey, who teaches a firearms class in Weathersfield that satisfies the requirements to obtain a carrying concealed weapons license, said it’s become nearly impossible to obtain what firearms users call a “brick” of bullets.
A brick generally is 10 boxes of 50 bullets.
He still is able to buy boxes of .22-caliber ammunition, the kind most generally used in his class, but the prices have doubled in recent months, he said.
Mike Miller Jr. of Miller Rod and Gun on Youngstown Poland Road, a firearms and ammunition dealer, said the availability of certain types of ammunition decreased shortly after the Sandy Hook tragedy in Connecticut.
It happened because many gun owners could see that the loudest voices calling for change were for gun control, not changes in the mental- health system.
“Within 24 to 48 hours, you couldn’t buy a gun anywhere in the country,” he said. Not long after that, ammunition distributors raised the price on a box of ammunition that used to be $4.35 up to $16.
People coming into Miller Rod and Gun sometimes blame stores like his for the higher prices, but his shop is passing on the higher prices that come from distributors, Miller said.
Something else that happened was that distributors used the higher demand for ammunition to link stores’ ammunition purchases to their purchase of other items that are not in high demand, such as holsters and other accessories.
Shops such as Miller Gun and Rod have to increase prices to cover the extra merchandise they have to buy to get the ammunition, Miller said.
Miller Rod and Gun still sells single boxes of ammunition in many of the common sizes, but it restricts the buyer to one box of each kind. And, that only applies to customers who have purchased that caliber gun from the shop, he said. When the supply is limited, the shop wants to take care of its good customers first, Miller said.
Employees of Miller Rod and Gun regularly hear from customers that one reason for the shortage is that the federal government is buying up massive amounts of ammunition. He doesn’t personally believe that.
“You’re always going to have that group of individuals who will grossly over-react,” he said. “They’ll grab their Bible and wait for the end.”
That’s not to say that the shortage is a hoax. “As far as the ammunition shortage, it’s real,” Miller said. “Across the country it’s the same situation.”