NEWPORT NEWS-The ripple effects of the gun control debate in Congress are being felt in Hampton Roads. Shooting ranges and gun shops say gun owners are stockpiling ammunition.
George McClain, who owns The Marksman shooting range in Newport News, says he's been rationing ammo - one box per customer - since January. He says there's been a run on .22, 9mm, .40 and .45 caliber bullets.
“I just have to scramble to several different distributors to get that same supply. Where I used to be able to get it from one distributor, now I’m dealing with about five. I've got some suppliers that I put ammo orders in and they are telling me 12-18 months,” states Clain.
He says 2012 was a record year for his business. Since the Newtown (Connecticut) school shooting, more customers are buying guns and learning how to use them.
“I think primarily because people were concerned with some type of gun control legislation coming down,” McClain believes.
Andrew Goddard is president of the Virginia Center of Public Safety. He wonders if the ammo shortage is being exaggerated to generate sales.
“Obviously, any commodity that’s in short supply the price goes up, so there’s a benefit to creating an artificial shortage or the perception of a shortage to drive up the price,” says Goddard.
He doesn’t think there’s anything to fear about an ammunition shortage. He does think there should be a record of people who are buying bullets in bulk.
Gun enthusiast Alexis Harvey signed up for gun safety classes at The Marksman. She wants to get a concealed carry permit. She doesn’t blame ammunition or guns for violence.
“Then pencils misspell people's words, cars make people get in the car and drive drunk and forks make you fat. But that’s not true. It’s the person behind all these,” Harvey says.