The ammunition shortage, which has been reported around the country since early 2020, has grown worse, especially as hunting season has begun in many parts of the country. In some areas, it’s harder to find ammunition, and in others, ammo has become more expensive than usual.
The latest report about such trouble, or rather the potential for it, is in Texas.
According to KIII TV in Corpus Christi, Texas Game Warden Lerrin Johnson has said that while hunters haven’t yet been “slowed” by the shortage, they’re going to eventually have to adapt.
"If you’ve run out of a 12 gauge shotgun ammo, and you can use a 20 gauge or borrow a different firearm from a friend," Johnson said, per the station. “We don’t want it to discourage hunters… by any means, we want everyone out there through dove, duck, and deer season.”
The station also talked to Keith Hanson, owner of Ready Reserves in Corpus Christi.
"It’s not a new thing, this has been going on the last 1.5 years since COVID-19 started,” the store owner told KIII. “And the riots what have you, people have been stocking up, and the manufacturers fell behind trying to make enough ammo for everyone out there.”
The Texas report is consistent with many local news reports about the ammo shortage, a topic that has gotten a lot of local news coverage but not so much in the national media. There was one such story about its effect on college campuses, however, as reported by the Daily Gamecock at the University of South Carolina.
The shortage has been attributed to many factors, from pandemic-era supply constraints to the Remington bankruptcy, which knocked off a great deal of domestic supply. In addition, the explosion in new gun ownership since the start of the pandemic, coupled with urban unrest and fears that the Democratic presidential administration would pursue gun restrictions, is also thought to have contributed to the ammo shortage.
There are also some fears that the State Department’s recently announced sanctions on Russian ammunition could make the shortage worse. Russia was the top foreign supplier of ammunition to the United States in 2020.
Those included “restrictions on the permanent imports of certain Russian firearms [and] new and pending permit applications for the permanent importation of firearms and ammunition manufactured or located in Russia will be subject to a policy of denial,” as well as “additional Department of Commerce export restrictions on nuclear and missile-related goods and technology pursuant.”
Guns expert Greg Ellifritz talked about the likely effects on his blog.
“While not many shooters like shooting steel-cased Russian ammo in their firearms, there is a demand for the cheap stuff. Industry experts note that somewhere between 20% and 30% of the ammunition sales in the USA involve ammunition imported from Russia,” he wrote. “We know YOU don’t shoot Tula ammo in your custom pistols, but the yahoo at the range who doesn’t know any better is doing mag dumps with the stuff.”
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.