“It’s nuts,” Jonathan Simmons, a gun owner from Roanoke, Virginia, told Capitol Hill Blue. “I can’t find any .22 long rifle. The last time I checked, no proposed new gun laws outlawed 22 cartridges and while there are proposals to limit the size of magazines, I haven’t seen any plans to restrict ammo sales.”
Gun shops ranging from independent operators to national chains like Gander Mountain have placed limits on the amount of ammo that a customer can buy.
States Gander Mountain on its web site:
Due to the overwhelming demand for ammunition, availability has become limited. Unfortunately, at this time we are forced to restrict the purchase of certain ammunition to ten boxes per day per customer in order to fairly serve all of our customers.
While gun show owners say the demand is good for business, they also admit privately that the paranoia is unfounded.
“We saw the same demand and shortages when Barack Obama was first elected,” a gun shop owner near Christiansburg, Virginia, told Capitol Hill Blue. “It was unfounded and this scare is probably as unfounded as well. The current Congress is unlikely to pass any serious gun control legislation.”
Some gun owners blame the paranoia on the National Rifle Association, which they say fuels the fear to drive up its membership.
“While I support the NRA’s drive to limit attempts to curb the rights of law-abiding gun owners, I believe they go overboard in creating a climate of fear among those who own firearms,” said gun owner Christine Howland of Richmond, VA.
Retired lobbyist Jim Hansen says the NRA intentionally creates the panic not only to aid membership drives but also to help the gun industry.
“More gun owners means more members,” he says. “More guns and ammo sales keep the gun manufacturers rolling in money and a lot of those funds find their way back to the NRA.”
In the small Blue Ridge community of Floyd, Virginia, county sheriff Shannon Zeaman told the county board of supervisors this past week that applications for concealed carry permits have gone up from about 16 a month to 70 a month in the latest scare.
While sales of assault-style weapons are up sharply because of announced attempts to curb the sale of such guns, so are sales of handguns and long rifles that are not part of any plans for control.
“It’s crazy out there,” said Arnold Gaylord at a recent gun show in Salem, Virginia. “People get so afraid so easily. We’re talking about the constitution here and no one is going to take our guns away from us.”