“As soon as we put it out, it’s gone,” he said.
In the past, Wallace said he would sell a “brick” of 500 bullets for the .22-caliber long rifle for $9.99.
“And it’s twenty-something dollars now,” he said. “Our parking lot is full every single day. People are checking to see what ammunition we receive. They’re calling on the phones, they’re emailing ‘have you received it? Have you received it?’”
Wallace blames President Obama, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, (D-California) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) for inciting fear among gun owners.
“They’re coming across (like) they’re out to disarm, and people are trying to buy up before we are disarmed, and they’re buying up before the price goes up anymore, so I would say the consumer is basically creating its own shortage,” he said.
Manufacturers follow a hierarchy in ammunition sales, first fulfilling the federal government’s contracts, followed by law enforcement, he said. The public gets what’s left.
Because the federal government buys so much of the .223-caliber ammo, it has been hard to buy for the last three years, Wallace said.
“So what’s happened is demand from the consumer has gone way up and taken all of its allocation and there’s not enough,” he said. “Business is good for all the wrong reasons. I don’t like being busy like that, and I feel sorry for the smaller dealers because they’re not going to have anything to sell.”
Cobb Police Chief John Houser said he’s noticed a change as well. Cobb Police use .40-caliber ammunition for handguns and .223-caliber for their AR-15 rifles.
“When it comes to the .223 round in the rifles, we are seeing more of a delay from the time frame from placing the order to actually receiving the rounds,” Houser said.
Vendors tell him instead of the usual six- to eight-month shipment, it could be as long as 12 months.
One reason for the delay is that the military uses the .223-caliber bullet. A similar situation occurred during the Gulf War when there was a demand for bullets overseas, Houser said.
But now it’s actions in Washington driving ammo sales.
“It appears from what is coming out of Washington that these weapons are being sold very quickly now, so there’s a lot more demand for the .223-caliber ammunition,” he said.
Houser said he hasn’t seen any change when it comes to ordering the .40-caliber bullets for police handguns.
“We just have to recognize there may be a delay in getting the ammunition so we have to plan in advance for that,” he said.
Kennesaw Police Chief Bill Westenberger said his department has not had a problem with buying ammunition, something it generally does on an annual basis.
“We will be watching the trends and be in touch with our vendors as time draws closer to making our next orders,” he said.
Marietta Police Chief Dan Flynn said his department has not seen contract prices increase yet, either, although Flynn pointed out that Marietta police buy ammo through government contracts. Flynn said he has been told to expect increases in the near future.
Marietta conducts police firearms training and qualifications semi-annually in the spring and fall and has separate schedules for its SWAT team members.
“As of this point we have not altered any of our regular firearms training schedules based on availability or increasing cost of ammo,” he said.
To Flynn, the cost increase is clearly related to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in December, which was followed immediately by calls for renewed gun control.
“We have heard an array of reasons such as people feel there is an increase in crime, they fear congressional action or presidential executive orders; or they fear erosion of the Second Amendment,” he said.
The popularity of Marietta Police Department’s gun-safety seminars has shot up since the Sandy Hook shootings. Normally they have about 125 people attend. Last week they had about 700 sign up, he said.
“Several of those attendees told us they are aware that gun laws are changing rapidly, and they just want to be sure to remain in compliance with the latest set of laws,” he said.
Cobb Probate Court has also received a sharp increase in requests for gun licenses, he said.
Flynn said while the police department must remain neutral on political issues, he repeated what he tells people at the gun safety seminars.
“We all know there are a lot of guns in homes, vehicles and businesses in our community, and we also know there are a lot of children in our community,” he said. “No matter which side of the gun control debate you are on, we can all agree that we want to keep children safe around guns. That is the most urgent, important reason we need to come together to discuss gun safety. Everything else is secondary.”