If you have been following for the last year the sales of ammunition and firearms, you will see that President Obama has been great for weapons sales or at least that is what the perception is. In business, often perception isn’t always what it seems.
Whenever a Democrat gets into the White House, people who own firearms freak out a bit and start stocking up on weapons and ammunition. In the case of President Obama, he had several statements pre-election and some now after where he said he would look into regulating the sales of ammo. To date, that has not happened.
What has happened though is that there has been a combination of self-fulling prophecies of the shortage and various urban legends (which probably aren’t true) that the military needs more powder, primer, etc.
The truth is somewhere in a combination of the following events if I understand commerce:
1. The US Military has plenty of ammunition and small pistol primers aren’t going to be the main thing that the military needs.
2. Raw material costs are going up in price and with China and other nations hoarding materials and minerals, some may be hard to get.
3. Human nature, at times being based on fear, has made a lot of people who are uncomfortable with government to begin with to over-react and start hoarding weapons and bullets.
4. Bullet sales have gone up because people were scared but for the most part, bullets are still being produced.
5. The net result is that bullets are more expensive than before.
6. Ingredients for making the bullets in item 6 are in scarce supply so people who reload firearms for fun (and yes, it can be therapeutic, just like any other hobby) are not seeing primers as easily as they would have several years ago.
7. The thought that the government is trying to stop or control the individual from owning guns where legal isn’t logical because people can always find ways to make weapons out of other things and besides, there are tons of people who have already hoarded weaponry and some of them are scary.
Cycles like this have happened in the past and eventually the supply and demand adjusts accordingly. Where I have gotten into an arguement with some people has been to the answer of “What if they limit me to one box of bullets a month?”
My answer is you will have to either learn reloading and fend for yourself or adjust your hobby shooting to less bullets a month. Shortages, whether true or forced, don’t last forever.
If stores that sell ammo really wanted to help things they would put a cap on the amount of supplies that people can buy but most don’t unless stipulated by law. The cost of bullets, brass and primer is up and from a business point of view, that is something to watch if you are investing in companies that make or support arms.
Added to the mix is the fact that a lot of hobby shooters may end up selling some of their collections and ammo because they are out of work and need the money. For those of my readers who keep saying that they will never pry the guns out of their living fingers, their wives and/or girl friends probably have a say in the situation and might limit you to the one pistol or rifle that you love best.
Hey, hobby people suffer the most in a Depression no matter what your hobby is.
Having researched reloading and finding it interesting ,it is just as safe as any other hobby (including stamp collecting and shark wrangling) provided people be careful and pay attention to what they are doing. The same holds true for people who work on cars. If you don’t have the automobile jacked up correctly you can risk having a several ton auto come crashing down on you if you are working on it underneath. You get the idea.
The stock market looks like it was on a brief rampage up on Monday and we shall see what is going to happen with the markets in the next few weeks.
In keeping with the appropriate closing for this post, stay healthy, wealthy, happy, wise and keep your powder dry.
Sep 29 2009
Kim Isaac Greenblatt
The Perceived Ammunition Shortage