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Gun dealers report striking ammunition shortages

Gun owners are stockpiling ammunition in the midst of the ongoing national dialogue about gun-control legislation.

The USA Today reports that ammunition prices have skyrocketed in the last year, with some gun dealers limiting the quantity of ammunition that customers can purchase.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation — which represents ammunition makers, retailers, hunters and sport shooters — attributes the shortages in part to the increased popularity of sport-shooting and hunting.  In fact, hunting license sales increased 9 percent from 2006 to 2011, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Participation in skeet shooting is also growing 3-5 percent annually.

However, retailers largely attribute the increased demand for ammunition to expected or threatened policy changes. Owners and sellers of guns say that the run on ammunition began around the time of President Barack Obama’s re-election.

“We have had some spot shortages and busy gun times in the past,” Larry Hyatt, owner of the 53-year-old Hyatt Gun Shop in Charlotte, N.C., said. “This is a level [of demand] never before seen.”

Testimonies from gun owners suggest that the current demand for ammunition is more than manufacturers can handle. Hyatt is limiting .22-caliber sales to one box per person, and is running out of assorted gun supplies, such as holsters and brushes.

A spokesman for New York Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy accused guns-rights advocates of “putting out this fear that people are trying to take away their guns, put really onerous restrictions on them, when that is not the case.”

McCarthy has crafted legislation that would ban online sales, and also require ammunition sellers to be licensed and report sales of more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition to federal authorities.

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