Pandemic, Unrest, Stimulus, Election Year Driving Virginia’s Ammunition Shortage


Bullets are flying off the shelves again, like after Barack Obama’s two presidential election wins. But gun shop owner Bob Marcus said the cause is not just traditional fear of what a Democratic administration might do.

“This is nothing like Obama or Sandy Hook. It is sort of the perfect storm with the pandemic, stimulus money, and an election year,” Marcus said. “Throw in lawlessness in the streets for good measure. Of course, people want what they can’t get.”

In an email blast, the Virginia Citizens Defense League [VCDL] said, “Ammunition manufacturers customarily have a pretty good handle on how much of each type of ammunition they are going to sell annually. Knowing this, they tool up and crank out x rounds of .22 LR. They then retool and make y rounds of 9mm, then z rounds of .223, etc. The perfect storm has thrown a monkey wrench into those calculations and the industry is trying desperately to catch up to the exploding demand.”

According to the VCDL, the ammunition shortage is due to increasing firearms legislation, COVID-19 limiting ammunition manufacturing capacity, and an increasing amount of first-time gun owners. “Even components for reloading are in short supply,” the VCDL email said.

Marcus owns Bob’s Guns in Norfolk. In October, he told The Star that he was seeing record gun sales that started with an incoming Democrat-controlled General Assembly. “There were threats of the so-called assault weapons ban, and other restrictions, so it continued through January, February, and into March.” Marcus added, “Just as soon as that was finished, Covid-19 kicked in.” As stimulus checks came in, people spent that money on guns.

On Monday, Marcus told The Virginia Star that many stores were price gouging ammunition customers. Marcus said he wasn’t doing that, but that manufacturers were raising their prices, forcing him to pass the increase along to his customers.

Marcus said, “Ammo is extremely tight. We are selling every box that we get. We’re just not getting enough of it to satisfy our customers, and we don’t expect to see any relief from that well into the second quarter of next year, if then.”

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Digital Network.  Email tips to [email protected].





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