Today’s column represents a celebration of sorts…with a caution. This month marks the two-year anniversary of a column I wrote, titled “Silent Spring.” In that piece I lamented the remarkable and noteworthy absence of both rimfire and centerfire ammunition from dealers’ shelves across the country.
The spring of 2015 was to be the first season in almost 50 years of varmint hunting that I wouldn’t be able to carry my favorite .22 LR and .22 Magnum rifles into the field. I had no ammunition for these firearms at home, and local dealers’ inventories and online sources were completely dried up.
It was my fault; I had failed to read the writing on the wall and had assumed (like many of you) that worries about anti-gun sentiment in Washington D.C. would never lead to such unprecedented demand for ammunition. There were subsequent shortages of practically every type of handgun, rifle, and shotgun ammunition. Reloading components and most semi-automatic firearms became as plentiful as dodos too.
Characteristic of any consumer scarcity, hordes of local and online entrepreneurs suddenly materialized out of the woodwork, anxious to part with portions of their precious ammunition stores at horribly inflated prices. I can remember twist-tied sandwich bags of 50 .22 LR rounds trading for as much as $20. 500 round bulk packs of .22’s, which formerly had sold for as little as $9.99, were demanding $150 or more. Still, people were haggling and fighting over who would get them. Centerfire ammunition, particularly .223/5.56 and 9mm Luger, essentially disappeared. Having failed to correctly interpret the “signs of the times,” ammunition-wise, I was left destitute. My cupboards were bare.
It pains me to report that we may soon find ourselves in a similar circumstance. After each act of mass violence, there is inevitable blame placed upon the National Rifle Association, sportsmen and Second Amendment proponents.
Sad parades of misguided politicians mount their podiums and wave their tired legislation calling for the banning/restriction of semi-automatic weapons, which they incorrectly and purposefully label as ‘assault weapons.’ It is important to recognize that no one deplores gun-related violence more than pro-2nd Amendment advocates. It is this illegal violence that most threatens our sport and our right to protect our families, homes, commerce, and neighbors.
Now for the hopeful news: For the time being, local dealer shelves and online inventories are bulging with stocks of ammunition and firearms of all flavors and descriptions for reasonable prices. If there is a better time to stock up for your hunting, self-defense, and recreational sporting needs than now, I can’t imagine when and where that would be.
So, once again, each of us has a choice to make. Will you prepare for the future now, while materials are cheap and available? Or will you ignore historical precedent and the current political climate, surrendering to an inauthentic hope that resources will always be readily available?