The US suffers from a shortage of ammunition, which it is affecting law enforcement, to persons seeking personal protection, recreational shooters and hunters, and could prevent new gun owners from practicing safe gun handling.
The deficit comes as the pandemic, social unrest and the rise in violent crime have driven millions of Americans to buy guns. Manufacturers claim they are producing as much ammunition as they can, but the shelves in many gun shops are empty and prices keep rising, informs AP.
“Where there is a greater sense of instability, more people will buy weapons”
According to data from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, in 2010, there were 14.4 million background checks for gun purchases. In 2020, the figure rose to almost 39.7 million and only until June 2021 it reached 22.2 million.
However, the actual number of guns sold could be much higher, as multiple firearms can be tied to a single background check. Meanwhile, for ammunition there is no data available, since sales are not regulated and no license is required to sell it.
As the pandemic swept across the country in early 2020, lockdown orders and cuts in police response sowed fear for safety, creating a “overwhelming demand“Both weapons and ammunition,” explained Mark Oliva, spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
“Where there is a greater sense of instability, fear and insecurity, more people will buy weapons,” explained Ari Freilich of the Gifford Law Center for the Prevention of Gun Violence. According to the specialist, while supplies were dwindling, some gun owners they began to accumulate ammunition.
At the same time, the U.S. Armed Forces are unaffected by the shortage because the Army produces ammunition for all its branches in six centers of the country, according to Justine Barati, spokeswoman for the US Army Joint Munitions Command.
Ammunition for sports and training
The United States shooting team, which won four medals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, also had the necessary ammunition to train thanks to their sponsors. However, membership and youth programs have struggled, said Matt Suggs, executive director of USA Shooting, the country’s regulator for Olympic and Paralympic shooting.
As for the American biathlon team, which is training for the 2022 Winter Olympics, it has also received ammunition from its sponsor, Lapua, made in Finland. But local clubs face deficitsaid Max Cobb, president of the American Biathlon Association.
Jason Vanderbrink, vice president of Vista Outdoor, which owns the Federal, CCI, Speer and Remington ammunition brands, stressed that companies are shipping ammunition as fast as they can make it.
For his part, Bryan Lookabaugh, of the Renton Fish & Game shooting range in Washington state, where shooters try to hit targets, noted that low availability means that fewer people attend target practice and that some were unable to participate in recent competitions.
Import and export of ammunition and weapons
Amid shortages, ammunition imports from Russia, South Korea, the European Union and other countries increased in the past two years a 225%, according to an analysis by Panjiva Inc., which independently tracks world trade.
At the same time, some of the ammunition manufactured on US soil is leaving the country. Winchester Company has registered 107 shipments since January 2020According to Panjiva Inc. Most went to Australia to fulfill a contract the company secured with NIOA, the country’s largest small arms supplier. Some shipments were also made to Belgium and Israel.