HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – From toilet paper to ammo, gun stores across the state are seeing fewer boxes of bullets on their shelves.
More people are buying what they do have in minutes. The shortage began during the pandemic and it could continue for a couple more years.
“Finding shells, that’s a job right now.”
Rick Petty Sr. knows he has quite a while until he’s sitting in a blind looking at a deer through his scope, but he’s already trying to find what ammunition he can.
“Finding shells, that’s a job right now. 90% of what you click on says ‘out of stock,'” Petty said.
From shotguns to rifles and even some handguns, it’s almost impossible to get ammo in your sights.
“I’ve gone to places where I’ve always gone before and they say ‘we’re out,'” Petty said.
Arego’s Wholesale Guns Owner Roger Latsha calls it a perfect storm.
“It’s kind of been one issue after another,” Latsha said.
It started when COVID-19 swept the country one year ago.
“The demand kind of rose a little bit because of COVID well at the same time most of the manufacturers had to close, some of them a few months,” Latsha said.
When they did open, social distancing protocols slowed down the manufacturing process that was already behind.
“Then after that you have metal shortages,” Latsha said.
Now, not only is it tough to fill the shelves but the shipments they do get don’t last long.
“Since October I’ve seen probably about ten boxes of 30-30 ammo. We have limits on ammo, limit one box two box on some and it still won’t even last until lunchtime,” Latsha said.
When he talks to his manufacturers, Latsha said it’s tough to gauge when the shortage will end.
“As a matter of fact, this week they told me they had a two year back log,” Latsha said.
There are some folks who stockpiled early and are now selling it by word of mouth. Those boxes come at a price and the legality of that is another issue.