Grand Junction: ‘Fear’ causes run on ammo |

Grand Junction: ‘Fear’ causes run on ammo

Tracy Dvorak
Grand Junction Free Press
Tracy Dvorak/Free PressWhat used to be shelving stocked full of handgun ammo is virtually empty at Gene Taylor's Sporting Goods in Grand Junction, Colorado

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. ” NRA-certified Instructor Penny Hardrick is teaching a basic pistol class this weekend.

She’s heard from prospective students who are having trouble rounding up handgun ammunition.

“I have not had any cancel, but one of the students went to Gene Taylor’s and bought a .38 special but could not get any ammo anywhere in town,” Hardrick said.

Finding ammunition, especially for handguns, is becoming increasingly difficult, and it’s largely due to the perceived anti-gun Obama administration, say local gun and ammo dealers.

“Obama is the best (gun/ammo) salesman of the year,” said Lonnie Spann, archery lead at Sportsmen’s Warehouse, where rows of shelving for ammunition stand empty.

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“Instead of people buying one box of ammo, they’re buying five boxes,” said Spann, who has seen a “panic.”

(Sportsmen’s Warehouse is undergoing Chapter 11 reorganization, which also might explain the dearth in ammo and gun inventory.)

“It wasn’t like this before the (presidential) election,” avid gun owner Ben Copley said. He was in Gene Taylor’s Wednesday looking for a special type of .45 ammo which law enforcement uses. This was strike two for him; Sportsmen’s didn’t have any either.

“The shelves keep getting emptier,” Copley said.

Roy Nave, gun sales associate at Gene Taylor’s, says customers have been coming in buying by the case.

“They are afraid of gun laws trying to be passed,” Nave said.

One of those pieces of legislation is the controversial House Resolution 45, introduced in Congress Jan. 6 by U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Chicago). If enacted, the bill would require a federal license to own “any handgun” or “any semiautomatic firearm that can accept any detachable ammunition feeding device,” according to The bill has been referred to committee, where a majority die.

Another piece of proposed legislation that scares gun owners is the Ammunition Accountability Act, which has been introduced in more than a dozen states (not including Colorado) and which would use bullet-coding technology to maintain a database which would track and identify buyers.

“This guy (Obama) has set off a buying storm in this county the likes we’ve never seen,” said Jerry Stehman, owner of Jerry’s Outdoor Sports. “He just frightens the gun community.”

And it’s that fear that’s causing empty ammo racks across town.

“I personally feel it’s a healthy paranoia; I don’t blame people for doing what they’re doing,” he said.

Another option for many gun owners is to reload bullets.

“I’ve sold more reloading supplies (primers, powder, brass casings) in the last six months than in five years,” said Stehman, who added that gun sales are “through the roof,” in particular, for conceal-carry type of guns as well as semiautomatics like the AR-15, mini 14, etc.

“People are buying the types of firearms they’re afraid Obama could take away.”

Reach Tracy Dvorak at

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