MICHELE NORRIS, Host:
There is an ammunition shortage in America. It's affecting police and sheriffs' departments all over the U.S. It's also being seen by gun dealers from big retailers like Wal-Mart to smaller family-run businesses to online operations. Ammunition suppliers say the shortage is due to several factors, including the sheer volume of ammunition heading overseas to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But they also say the shortage, as well as a sharp rise in gun sales, coincided with the election of President Barack Obama. They say it was fueled in part by fears that his administration would usher in more restrictive gun laws. Johnny Dury owns Dury's Gun Shop in San Antonio, Texas, and he joins me on the line now. Welcome to the program, Mr. Dury.
JOHNNY DURY: Good afternoon. How are you today?
NORRIS: I'm well. I'm well. I'm wondering what your stock room looks like. Do you have a hard time meeting demand for ammunition there?
DURY: We have had big time trouble getting enough ammunition in here. Although we are a big enough store where we've just been right at the edge at just about the time that we run out of it, then there's another shipment that's come through. But a lot of the small dealers have not been so fortunate in that.
NORRIS: When did you first notice this ammunition shortage?
DURY: Well, it started the day that Obama got elected is when everything just really went crazy in the gun business. We had a few speculators the week before the election that were thinking that he was going to get elected, but most of the people just waited till the day that they knew the election was over with and done. And from that day on it's been crazy in just about every gun shop in the United States.
NORRIS: Wait a minute. Help me understand what's going on. On November 5th, the day after the election, people headed to the gun store and started to stock up?
DURY: Like you wouldn't believe.
NORRIS: Now, there have been stories about this in newspapers all over the country, the shortage of ammunition. And many of the gun dealers are quoted saying that this is fueled in part by people who are worried about more restrictive gun laws. That they're - they're buying more guns, and they're buying more ammunition. Is that what you're saying?
DURY: Yes. They're buying more guns and then with the purchases of the guns, the ammunition goes right along with that. So it's not just a ammunition shortage, it's the gun and ammunition shortage. And it's just the - there's the sheer volume of it right after the election, everybody was scared that he was going to take this ammo away or he was going to tax it out of sight on the prices. So people started stocking up, buying, you know, a half a lifetime to a lifetime supply of ammo all at one time.
NORRIS: A lifetime supply?
DURY: Mm-hmm. I had a 69-year-old woman the other day called me and said I want to give you my credit card for case of ammunition for my AK-47. She said I'll be damned if I'm going to have anybody tell me I can't have any ammo.
NORRIS: The FBI is reporting a 31 percent increase in criminal background checks, that seems to comport with what you're seeing there.
DURY: (unintelligible) business is up 47 percent. So I would think that 31 would be light.
NORRIS: You know, there's an interesting irony here because you're telling me that a lot of people are coming in and buying more guns, more ammunition because they're worried about more restrictive gun laws. But the people who promote those more restrictive gun laws might listen to this conversation and say that's exactly why we need those laws.
DURY: You know what? The thing that those anti-gun people don't understand is the people are buying it to protect themselves. They're so scared of the socialist type of let's take over the banks, let's talk about - take over the oil companies, let's give all of this money to people who are without jobs, let's reward all these people who are not working hard. And they said, well, if the government is going that way, what are they going to try to take away from us now?
And that you know what the big concern is is they're worried about not being able to get any ammo and not being able to protect themselves. They feel like if the criminals know you can't get guns, then it's just going to make it easier targets to commit crimes.
NORRIS: How's business today?
DURY: We'll say it's an average post-Obama day.
NORRIS: An average post-Obama day?
DURY: This time of year with Obama stuff still going, we're probably 15 percent over what a normal April day would be.
NORRIS: Johnny Dury owns Dury's Gun Shop in San Antonio, Texas. Mr. Dury, thank you very much.
DURY: Thank you, bye-bye.