Gun stores facing ammo shortage

Published: Oct. 30, 2020 at 5:09 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, shoppers have dealt with a shortage of items like toilet paper and disinfecting wipes.

Another shortage is hitting retailers across the area, only this time it’s not toilet paper.
Another shortage is hitting retailers across the area, only this time it’s not toilet paper.(weau)

Another shortage is hitting retailers across the area, only this time it’s not toilet paper. At sporting goods stores across the Chippewa Valley, many people are seeing empty shelves in the ammunition aisle. The reason, according to Dan Marcon of Marc-On Shooting in Lake Hallie, is a rise in gun ownership.

“We’ve been averaging 150 handguns a month. Off of those, about 80% are new shooters,” Marcon says. “All those new shooters need one to five or six boxes of ammo to get used to it, to train, to get their concealed carry license, to get basic pistol certifications. You’re at an ungodly amount just in our region.”

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, retailers saw a 95% increase in firearms sales and a 139% increase in ammunition sales during the first half of 2020. Some stores, like Scheels in Eau Claire, have placed limits of the amount of ammo you can buy, if you can find what you’re looking for.

“There is just not that much ammunition out there,” Marcon says. “A lot of the products come from overseas. A lot of the primers are made in china, a lot of the glue that holds them together comes from over there.”

On the flip side, Luke Weyers of General Coin and Gun Exchange in Eau Claire says that shop has yet to feel the effects of a shortage.

“Shortage? No. We don’t have a shortage of ammo. We have a lot of ammo here,” Weyers says. “It’s hard to know what they are actually coming for. It is hunting season, so there is a lot of people coming for a lot of different things.”

With the uncertainty of the November election just a few days away, Marcon says he expects the shortage to continue for awhile.

“If you’re looking for ammo now, it’s tough,” Marcon says. “Our gun manufacturers and ammunition manufacturers and stuff are saying the spring or summer and that is if everything goes right in the next week. If it doesn’t we don’t know what is going to happen. It’s like owning a bar right before prohibition.”

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