ROANOKE, Va. – At SafeSide Tactical in Roanoke, the ammo shelves are getting bare and about a dozen are completely empty.
“In March, we started to see some of the ammo SKUs that we purchase frequently be less available,” said Safeside Tactical Co-Owner Mitchell Tyler, adding other gun shops and ranges are seeing the same thing. “It’s just kind of become progressively worse. At this point, we are really expecting this to go well into next summer.”
Tyler said the company is now limiting ammo purchases.
“Ammo is like our gasoline, right? You’ve got to have gas for your car, and firearms need ammo in order to run. When we sell a gun, customers expect to be able to purchase ammo so they can use the gun. When you come to our indoor ranges, people expect to be able to buy ammo to use at the range for target practice or a class,” Tyler.
To put the gun shortage in perspective, SafeSide Tactical was seeing about a 90% decrease in availability on Thursday.
Tyler believes recent protests and civil unrest prompted this latest buying frenzy.
“You watch what’s going on in cities across the country and across our Commonwealth and people are concerned for their own safety,” said Tyler.
Luckily for gun owners, SafeSide Tactical can make 9 mm ammo and will soon be able to make two more calibers, but if the shortage continues even that won’t be enough to keep up with demand.
“A lot of folks learned a small part of this lesson in 2013 during the ammo shortage,” said Tyler. Two thousand thirteen was more like a warning than a crisis. Now, we’re really in an ammo crisis.”
He said the company is looking at what it can do from a manufacturing standpoint to combat the shortage for local gun shops and ranges.