In the wake of the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, and the national focus on gun rights that's followed, many gun stores across the country are reporting they're running low on ammunition. Turns out, the same holds true for similar stores in East Tennessee.
Store owners from Sevier to Monroe Counties tell 10News the great attention on the Second Amendment has caused a spike in ammunition sales and higher prices. Nation-wide, experts believe an ammo shortage is possible.
Supply and demand: Basic economics are in play at Self Defense Solutions in Madisonville. Co-owner Ray Kough said gun owners are stocking up on all sizes of ammunition, even for guns like the AR-15 assault rifle, one of the types that would be outlawed under the proposed ban President Obama announced on January 16, 2013.
"That and the 22 long riflt ammo is very, very hard to get," Kough said.
"Right now, the hardest thing to get is 22 long rifle and 9mm and 223," said Steven Bowman, owner of Cross Roads Firearms in North Knoxville. All of the ammo he has to sell is out on the shelves.
Both store owners said companies they buy wholesale from have told them there's a backlog on bullets around the country.
"They're making it as fast as they can, but they're selling it faster than they can make it," Bowman said.
A jump in ammo sales goes hand in hand with the recent spike in gun sales. Kough said those followed the December shooting in Newtown, Connecticut and the renewed weapons debate.
"I don't think it's gonna do a lot of good to ban the weapons or the magazines. The criminals will still be able to get their guns. They'll be able to break in houses and take them, or buy them off of the Black Market," said Kough.
Store owners are enjoying strong ammunition sales now, but they are working hard to keep their shelves full. Bowman said he scours the Internet every night looking for stock to buy.
Self Defense Solutions is trying a different tactic.
"If they do have some that are in good, quality condition, we will give them a fair price for it," Kough explained.
Business is booming for both Kough and Bowman, in part because of the unknown future of firearms.
Self Defense Solutions in Madisonville also tells 10News course registration for hand gun carry permits has also doubled since December. They are looking for instructors to help with the additional demand.