A nationwide ammunition shortage is hitting stores here in Vermont. And now ammunition is flying off the shelves.
"I mean look -- there's no 9 millimeter, you can't get them," said Don Whitney.
Empty shelves are a big source of frustration for Vermont sportsmen, especially now that demand for ammunition is at an all-time high.
Datillio's Gun shop is one of just a few in the state not rationing what little stock they can get. Owner Jim Datillio says strong relationships with wholesalers are the reason his shelves are slightly more stocked than other shops.
"They're just awestruck," he says of customer reaction to seeing ammo on his shelves. "They can't believe that I have the ammo and the first thing they say is, 'Is there any limitations? How many can we buy?'"
Datillio says the demand, especially for .22's .223s, 9 mm, and semiautomatic firearm ammo, has shot up since gun control was thrust into the forefront in late 2012.
"It's been nonstop. People will come in and if they don't see any ammo on the shelves and then suddenly they see it, they want to buy it all," Datillio explained.
He says customers are stockpiling in part because they're afraid their bullets could one day be banned. And news that government plans to buy 1.6 billion rounds over the next four years has many panicked the shortage will only get worse.
"I had a guy from Georgia drive up the eastern seaboard looking for ammo and we were the only one that had the ammo he was looking for," Datillio said.
Not only is demand skyrocketing, but in some cases prices have nearly doubled.
"It's a daily struggle to get inventory," said Bob Hausman, a wholesale ammo distributor.
He says the ammo companies are working round the clock, but still can't fill the orders he needs. Normally an order takes two weeks to fill, but now:
"Up to nine months with some companies, over a year I'm waiting now, 15 months with some manufacturers to get ammunition," Hausman explains.
And there's no telling when the buying frenzy will end, but Datillio has his own working theory.
"No new gun laws, no new gun bans, and maybe we'll see some of this panic buying calm down a little bit."
The shortage hasn't affected law enforcement in our area because they buy on a set schedule. And hunting season is safe for now-- Datillio says that ammo is also still in stock.
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