Based on an analysis of background checks for gun purchases, political threats to Americans’ right to bear arms fueled an unprecedented uptick in firearm sales for 2013. And while government attempts to make it harder for American citizens to purchase firearms appear slated to continue, an ammo shortage spurred by new regulations and ongoing concern about legislative attacks on firearm ownership is likely the most tangible threat to the 2nd Amendment in 2014.
The number of criminal background checks conducted for firearm purchases increased for the 11th straight year in 2013, jumping by nearly 8 percent amid emotional calls for stricter gun control following a series of tragic shooting crimes. By the end of the year, the number of background checks had fallen, signaling that the gun-buying frenzy may be over for now.
“2013 was the best year for firearm sales (commercial, domestic) in history — period! That’s true for NH to Hawaii,” Richard Feldman, president of the Independent Firearm Owners Association told The Washington Times in a recent interview. “Ruger alone sold well over one million guns this year.”
But Feldman and other gun industry experts warn that ammunition sales have not yet caught up with 2013 gun purchases, which could mean that demand for ammo could overwhelm production in coming months.
“Ammunition will still be very strong in 2014 as it hasn’t caught up nationally with the demand,” Feldman said.
American firearm enthusiasts have already seen evidence of a strained ammo supply in the form of limited availability of many popular calibers of ammunition in the past year. Most notably, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition has become virtually unavailable in many parts of the country, as consumers rush to buy rounds as quickly as they can be stocked by ammo retailers.
The Civilian Marksmanship Program, a national advocate of firearms safety and training, recently posted an update to its website warning consumers to further expect price increases and delivery delays on ammunition orders in the coming months.
From CMP’s ammunition bulletin:
The CMP has been notified by ammunition manufacturers and distributors to expect price increases and significant delivery delays for all calibers of ammunition, especially for .22 rimfire. The price increases and delays apply to orders we have already placed with the manufacturers. Prior to 2013 CMP received deliveries of truckloads of ammo within a few weeks of placing orders. We are now being advised, as in the case of Aguila .22, that it may take several years to receive all of the 35,000,000 rounds of Aguila ammo we have on order.
As a result of this situation, CMP has placed orders with several different manufacturers for large amounts of ammunition in various calibers. We expect to receive only a few pallets at a time because manufacturers and distributors are rationing the ammo to their customers. As we receive ammo, we will contact customers with oldest orders already in place with the option to purchase whatever we receive at the new prices, cancel the order, or remain on the list for the manufacturer they originally requested. All price increases to CMP will be passed on to the customer. CMP will not be profiting from the increase in prices.
We will continue to accept orders for ammunition, with the understanding that the wait time for customers between placing an order and receiving the ammunition may be anywhere from a few weeks to a few years. Most other retailers are in the same situation as the CMP. We suggest that customers leave their CMP orders in place and not cancel until they are able to purchase ammo elsewhere. CMP customers will be contacted as to pricing and manufacturer before any orders are filled. We do not expect to have any additional information until after the annual SHOT Show in mid-January, when we will meet with all of the ammo manufacturers.
The cause of the ammunition shortages can be attributed in part to increased consumer demand. But despite the denials of Federal officials last year, the Department of Homelands Security’s purchase of 1.6 billion rounds of various types of ammunition last year certainly stinks of a government attempt to crowd private consumers out of the ammunition market.
Following massive populist outrage over his gun control agenda and threats to vulnerable Congressional Democrats who backed it, President Barack Obama backed off of his gun grabbing scheme. The National Rifle Association and various other 2nd Amendment advocates rejoiced. But while Obama is a snake in the grass, he’s no fool.
The White House began to hint that the President would refocus his attention on other issues to produce a second-term legacy, notably his desire to become known as a President who did everything in his power to save the environment.
But don’t be fooled; the President is still bent on killing the 2nd Amendment, and he’s made great strides.
The Obama Administration Environmental Protection Agency has made moves over the past few years to increase air quality regulations to make it impossibly cost-prohibitive for ammunition manufacturers to produce traditional lead ammunition.
In December, the EPA shuttered the Doe Run Lead Smelter in Herculaneum, Mo., the Nation’s last remaining lead smelting plant. The plant had been in operation since 1892. The plant was forced to shut down because of an Obama-backed increase in environmental regulatory burdens that produced $100 million in compliance costs for the business.
“For years families with children near Doe Run’s facilities have been exposed to unacceptable levels of lead, one of the most dangerous neurotoxins in the environment,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement Assurance, said of the agency’s motive for forcing the plant out of business.
The result of all of this is simple: It is now impossible for a round of ammunition to be produced completely in the United States. Even lead mined in the U.S. will now be shipped overseas for refinement before it can be used in ammunition production.
While many manufacturers report that they primarily produce ammunition using reclaimed lead and are unaffected by the Doe Run shutdown, the plants spokeswoman told benswann.com that a broader impact on the lead market will ultimately increase ammo prices.
Some of them may not be concerned; however, 130,000 tons of lead, which is primary lead, but still lead, will be removed from the North American market.
So we are in the supply-and-demand market, if you remove 130,000 tons of lead from the market, there will be greater competition for the remaining lead. So it’s really a matter of supply and demand.
There will be a smaller supply of lead in the U.S. market in the future.
Because ammunition that will be available to U.S. citizens — and even the military — will now have to be imported or will contain imported components, the government has also broadened its ability to clandestinely regulate ammo sales via trade controls.
Some observers believe the end result will be ammo markets completely controlled by the Federal government.