The CEO of one of the largest U.S. gun manufacturers, Smith & Wesson, said that the current ammunition shortage is showing no signs of improving amid reports of Americans continuing to purchase record amounts of firearms.
Over the past year or so, according to FBI data, gun sales in the United States have skyrocketed amid uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, Black Lives Matter demonstrations and violence, and Democrat officials’ proposals for more state and federal gun-control measures.
“It’s widely known the ammunition shortages continue,” said Smith & Wesson CEO Mark Smith in a Fox Business interview on Thursday. “There is still a lot of interest in firearms.”
He noted that Smith & Wesson shipped nearly 2.5 million units last year, up 70 percent from the previous year.
A firearms market research firm, in a report released late last month, found that about 80 percent of American customers said they experienced issues trying to find ammunition in 2020.
Southwick Associates said it “surveyed more than 1,800 ammunition consumers as part of its quarterly HunterSurvey/ShooterSurvey tracking study,” according to a news release dated May 26. “In 2020, four out of five consumers encountered out-of-stock issues while trying to purchase ammunition, while three-quarters encountered out-of-stock situations so far in 2021.”
It noted, “Of these respondents, 79 percent reported either fully or partially reducing their target shooting and hunting outings as a result of depleted ammunition shelves.”
Rob Southwick, the president of the industry group, predicted that “at some point,” the demand for ammunition will decrease.
“However, frenzied purchasing and empty shelves often fuels further increases in demand,” he added. “We do not see demand softening in the near future.”
In early May, meanwhile, FBI background check data revealed that the number of firearms purchased in April 2020 surpassed any previous April on record. More than 3.5 million background checks were done during the month, the data showed.
President Joe Biden’s administration has placed emphasis on new gun-control measures, coming in the wake of several high-profile mass shootings. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) earlier this month proposed new rules that would deem illegal most firearms that have a stabilizing pistol brace, a move that pro-Second Amendment groups have called unconstitutional and cumbersome.
Democrats in Congress are keen to take action, too. Two bills proposing enhanced background checks passed the Democrat-controlled House several months ago, although those bills are sure to stall in the 50-50 Senate barring the elimination of the 60-vote filibuster.
Senate Democrats this year introduced a ban on more than 200 “assault weapons” as well as banning magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.