As gun reform legislation rages through the halls of Congress and the White House, hunters and gun enthusiasts confront bare shelves and buying restrictions on supplies, even as retailers and manufacturers race to keep up with demand.
Wal-Mart limits buyers to three boxes when ammunition is available, and Cabela’s is limiting online orders to one box per day of the popular .22 long shells increasingly used as cheap ammo for target rifles and pistols, reports Forbes, which is tracking the trend.
A newly enacted Connecticut law now includes a $35 permit to buy ammo that requires a background check and is good for five years - unless the legislature shortens the term and increases the fee as a new source of tax revenue.
“But why the national shortage? Here’s my theory: Bullets are easy to store, non-perishable, and they hold their value or even increase in times of crisis.
So they’re a lot like gold or any other commodity that has served as hard money through the ages - or even the canned mackerel fillets that serve as currency in U.S. prisons,” says Forbes analyst Daniel Fisher.
“With states like Connecticut and Colorado passing strict new restrictions on gun owners and the President flying around the country to drum up support for national gun control, ammo buyers are like consumers queuing for gas or loading up on gold in the inflationary 1970s. They’re creating their own shortage,” he notes.
Mr. Fisher ponders a “bullet bubble” as well.
“Will today’s ammo hoarders be rewarded like gold buyers in 1972, or will they wind up like the folks who bought Bitcoins at $30 and watched them fall to two bucks a couple years ago?” he asks.