It’s almost a throwaway line, yet Newsweek used it in the title to this short piece:
Bredesen’s handling of the Tennessee gunfights-signing one bill, vetoing another, keeping his options open on still others-offers a window onto the surprisingly scattershot nature of gun policy in the age of Obama. NRA ads from 2008 predicting the end of all things in the event of a Democratic victory have the antique feel of a Mike Huckabee placard-the president, like the governor, is fully cognizant of the fact that pro-gun sentiment in America is rising, not falling. In April, the FBI reported its sixth straight month of increasing background checks for gun buyers (1,225,980; a 30 percent increase over April 2008), a trend that began in November. There are reports of ammunition shortages, and polling suggests softening public support for stricter gun laws.
The fact is, there is a shortage of ammunition right now. At least part of that shortage is, I suspect, driven by first-time buyers with disposable income and a fear of being locked out of the market soon if Federal law changes. There is also another factor: guns and ammunition have reached a “carriage trade” status:
In a recent TV ad for Black Cloud ammunition, a frantic flock of ducks darts around an orange sky as a heavy-metal guitar riff chugs ominously in the background. Cut to black. A slogan pops up, each word punctuated with a shotgun blast: Drop. Ducks. Like. Rain.
The spots, currently airing on Versus cable network, are remarkably brash for the otherwise moribund ammunition market. The goal for Black Cloud’s maker, the $4.6 billion defense contractor Alliant Techsystems (ATK), is to coax more dollars out of the shrinking ranks of hunters using brightly colored boxes, loud ads, and promises of premium-grade ammo made better by “lethal science.” What ATK is trying to sell is, in short, a deadlier shot. “A lot of people look at ammo as a commodity,” says Mark DeYoung, president of ATK’s Armament Systems. “We’ve really gone to high-performance projectiles.”
Bottom line: prices are up, availability is down – especially for calibers that are not current US military standard. You can still get – at high prices – 9mm and .223 Remington (which is not exactly the same as 5.56 NATO, but very similar). But there is virtually no .380 ACP out there. And .45 ACP is also very hard to get. Good luck with the more exotic calibers.
Pro-gun sentiment is rising. Sadly, I do not see prices for guns or ammunition falling any time soon.