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National ammo shortage makes its way to Texoma, gun sales still on the rise

Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 11:11 PM CDT
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WHITESBORO, Texas (KXII) - At Past & Blast in Whitesboro firearms sales have been surging since the Coronavirus pandemic began.

Owner Matt Whitmire says it’s the best numbers he’s seen in the last eight years.

“Defensive items, whether it’s a handgun, short barrel shot guns, AR-15′s. They want high capacity and to be able to defend themselves,” Whitmire said.

According to Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting, a research consultancy firm that studies the global firearms and ammo markets, gun sales in June were up 145 percent from the same time in 2019.

Whitmire said he has “plenty of firearms” but it’s ammunition that he, and other gun store owners across the country, are hurting for.

Whitmire said he saw a spike in gun sales after the death of George Floyd.

“High capacity, that’s what drives it. Pretty much everybody is getting concealed carry licenses,” Whitmire said.

That initial spike, which he says has slowed as of late, also led to a spike in ammo sales.

But COVID-19 shut down the supply chain for bullets. It shut down lead manufacturing in Missouri in March and has slowed the supply of copper out of South America which is used to make brass shell casings.

Whitmire said he used to get fifteen to twenty cases of ammo any time he wanted and it came from his choice of about twelve wholesalers before the pandemic began.

Now, some days he’s lucky if he can get six boxes. There’s even days where he gets none.

“When this started we probably had 40 thousand rounds of nine milimeter and people were buying it by the case, 500 to 1000 at a time and we just let it go,” Whitmire said. “It got to the point where we were seeing it go out the door and not come back and replace itself.”

Sarah Becker says her family’s hobby was hitting the shooting range, but now she’s having trouble just loading up for safety.

“We can’t find any nine millimeter, 380, 223,” Becker said. :It’s very hard to come by and when you are able to find it it’s a limit of maybe two boxes.”

Whitmire said for now, the shortage of ammo is the new normal in the age of Coronavirus.

“The sales people will call me and I might get five boxes of nine millimeter a day, I might get none. But the days of ordering 15-20 cases, those have been gone since early this year,” Whitmire said.

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