Gun control has become a significant talking point in today’s political landscape.Gun control becomes political, ammo becomes scarce

Gun control has become a significant talking point in today’s political landscape.

But what gun owners across the nation are concerned with is ammunition scarcity. Due to the political climate, a run on ammunition has taken hold. Shelves are empty and when ammunition does arrive, it is quickly gone.

Two businesses in Shawnee, Okla., are among those experiencing increased activity in sales.

Bill Santos, owner of B&M Firearms, said his sales since December have been “out of control.”

“People are buying just to buy, and supply and demand are out of control,” said Santos, who has been in business more than two decades.

“I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Santos sells AR-15s, which have come under much scrutiny since their use in recent mass shootings in Colorado and Connecticut. He said in a typical year, he might sell seven or eight of these rifles. But since December, he has sold about 100.

Ammunition for these guns is also troublesome to keep in stock these days, Santos said, and he has begun rationing the amount customers can purchase. Just last week, he received a shipment of 8,000 rounds of the 5.56 mm ammo used in the AR-15, and within days was down to 1,000 rounds.

His current limit on sales is five boxes — or 100 total rounds — per customer.

BDC Arms & Ammunition owner Jack Barrett is also experiencing this influx of ammo sales, and not just for the AR-15. Since Jan. 21, the Shawnee, Okla., business has sold 50,000 rounds of 5.56 mm ammo, as well as another 50,000 rounds of .22 LR (Long Rifle) ammo and 50,000 combined of 9 mm, .40 S&W and .45-caliber handgun rounds.

“My sales have been great, and the issue is the availability of merchandise,” Barrett said. “It’s supply and demand.”

Barrett is also rationing ammo, “mostly to prevent hoarding and reselling,” he said. “I’m more interested in serving my customers than having somebody make money off of me.”

Steven Harris, owner of Jerry’s Gun Shop & Pawn Shop in Ardmore, Okla., said because of national demand, the availability of ammunition to suppliers has been reduced.

“I just tell people to be patient, we will eventually get it in,” Harris said. “We are rationing our ammunition to keep people from buying it all so everyone can have some.”

Brant Williams, owner of Frontier Firearms in Kingston, Tenn., insists it isn’t “fear” of President Barack Obama and other like-minded politicians that continues to drive gun and ammo sales across the country, but rather it is the public’s “determination” that the government won’t take basic freedoms away.

Since starting his business in 2000, Williams says supply-and-demand spikes such as the one U.S. gun shops are now experiencing have only occurred after 9/11, when Obama was first elected, when Obama was re-elected and after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December.

“This isn’t about the NRA or ‘gun nuts,’” Williams said. “We’re seeing a lot of people who haven’t felt the need to buy firearms.

“They are concerned about home safety and concerned about protection from government.”

Note: Daily Ardmoreite (Ardmore, Okla.) reporter Michael Pineda and Oak Ridger (Oak Ridge, Tenn.) reporter Darrell Richardson also wrote for this report.