ND lawmakers take aim at ammo shortage

There’s never been so many firearms sold in the U.S. with a record-setting 8 million new weapons purchased in 2020. At the same time, there’s never been so little ammunition available for first-time buyers or anyone else. Manufacturers simply cannot keep up with demand.

Long-time gun dealer Gary Wahl told the Fergus Falls Journal there’s no end in sight to the drought given the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, civil unrest and talk of new gun control measures in Washington.

So what is going on in the world of rifle, pistol and shotgun ammunition? The good news for gun owners, according to Wahl, is that ammunition companies are still making it. The bad news is the demand is exceeding the current supply.

“First of all, the government has scared the people,” Wahl said. “Everyone is real afraid they won’t be able to find it so they are stocking up. They walk into stores and buy everything they can see. You’ll find it on the Internet at about four times the normal price.”

Sportsmen in rural areas in particular view the prolonged shortage as a potential threat to their way of life. As a result, Forum newspapers report North Dakota legislators have taken aim at the quandary by looking into whether the ammo shortage presents an opportunity for private investment in the state’s economy.

An ongoing national ammunition shortage has frustrated North Dakota hunters, and a local manufacturing facility could help meet demand for bullets while providing jobs to residents, said Rep. Mike Lefor, R-Dickinson.

Top lawmakers voted Wednesday, May 19, to study potential solutions to the ammunition shortage over the next 18 months. The study will be carried out by an interim committee of legislators and could yield a bill draft or no policy recommendation at all.

House Majority Leader Chet Pollert, R-Carrington, said North Dakota is “a sportsmen state,” and lawmakers should find out if establishing an ammo plant is a good opportunity for economic development.

The concurrent resolution passed by North Dakota lawmakers affirms the importance of residents’ Second Amendment rights and urgent need to get to the bottom of the current shortage.

The full resolution follows for readers who may want to forward it to their own legislators.

A concurrent resolution directing the Legislative Management to consider studying the factors contributing to the nation’s firearm and ammunition shortage.

WHEREAS, the firearm and ammunition inventory of wholesalers and distributors, which is at a historic low, is not due to a shortage in materials; and
WHEREAS, while firearm and ammunition retailers, wholesalers, and distributors had piles of inventory in January 2020, by December 2020, the same racks and shelves were empty; and
WHEREAS, with an election year that has had significant consequences for gun rights, a global pandemic event, rioting in cities and urban centers throughout the United States, there is an unprecedented demand for self-defense tools; and
WHEREAS, North Dakota is one of the gun-friendliest states in the nation, a state in which gun rights and hunting are sacred; and
WHEREAS, the Legislative Assembly should work to ensure the supply and price of
firearms and ammunition remains stable in North Dakota;

That the Legislative Management consider studying the factors contributing to the nation’s current firearm and ammunition shortage; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Legislative Management report its findings and
recommendations, together with any legislation required to implement the recommendations, to the Sixty-eighth Legislative Assembly.