In the months that the United States has had a major ammunition shortage, most of the media coverage has interviewed gun owners and enthusiasts, as well as the owners of shooting ranges, gun stores, and other businesses.
The coverage has not, however, concentrated much on how the shortage affects college students, until this week anyway.
The Daily Gamecock, a student publication at the University of South Carolina, wrote this week about how students at the university have been affected by the shortage. The newspaper talked to members of Carolina Ducks Unlimited, a student group that “raises money for the conservation of the North America wetlands.”
“We are not a hunting club. We do not sponsor hunts," Isaac Williams, chairman of Carolina Ducks Unlimited, told the newspaper. "We foster a community where people who enjoy hunting are naturally pulled towards… a common theme, especially now—it's dove season. It’s about to start being duck season— every meeting we have is like, 'Guys, where can we find ammo?’”
“COVID has pushed a lot of people back to their outdoors. You have a lot who work from home, a lot of people who have realized that spending time with their family is more important than their work because they’ve had to be home with them for the past year,” Williams added, per the student publication. “I went to a public dove field in Gaffney, South Carolina last weekend, and it was packed; there were people everywhere.”
“I’ll try to find ammo for my guns, my mom’s gun there’s, like, none. No revolver ammo, no rifle ammo—it’s just all gone,” one student told the newspaper. Another said that some types of ammo have seen significant increases in price.
The university’s ROTC was also affected.
“The Army and Cadet Command continues to provide all necessary resources to train our top-notch Cadets to be successful and achieve their goal to become commissioned officers in the United States Army,” Professor of Military Science and Battalion Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Rausch told the Daily Gamecock in a statement.
The ammunition shortage, which dates back to last year, has been attributed to several factors. Pandemic restrictions on other activities pushed some people towards isolated outdoor activities like hunting and shooting, while the pandemic led to some supply constraints. Remington, a major manufacturer, declared bankruptcy and was liquidated, further affecting supply.
In addition, the unrest brought about by both the pandemic and the post-George Floyd racial justice protests led many Americans to buy guns for the first time, which itself brought about a huge surge in demand for both the weapons and ammunition.
In addition, some have said that the State Department’s recently announced sanctions on Russian-made ammunition could make the shortage worse since Russia last year was the leading foreign exporter of ammo to the United States.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist, and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.