More first-time gun owners and ammo shortage in Illinois impacting local gun shops amid pandemic

Updated: Aug. 25, 2020 at 6:06 PM CDT
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MARION, Ill. (KFVS) - Amid the pandemic, two Heartland gun shop owners have experienced shortage in ammunition and even an increase in first-time gun owners.

Paul Smith is the co-owner of Pro Gun in Marion, Ill. He said the shortage is putting a dent in his sales.

“I mean i can’t call a retailer or wholesalers and say ‘Hey send me 500 cases of 9 millimeter.‘ They don’t have it,” Smith said. “so if we try and buy it, we cannot replenish it. If I can’t replenish it, i can’t resale it and I can’t make money.”

Smith said these he believes these changes are all due to the surge in new gun owners.

“What’s happening in the rest of the world and the rest of the United States -- there’s a lot of violence and people just want to protect themselves,” said Smith.

Up the road in Marion, Dave Kemp owns Tombstone Gun Range and Training Center.

“The wholesalers that we go through it’s taking a long time for them to get ammo to us even if we do find it. So, there’s definitely been a rush on ammunition,” he said.

Thanks to the ammo shortage, he said it cost him double to replace ammo that he sale. “15 dollars lets say for a box of 9 millimeter ammunition that might cost us as a dealer thirty dollars,” he said.

Kemp has seen an influx of new shooters who bought new guns.

”And when ever they do find ammunition they are stopping and coming out an d learning how to shoot,” he said.

According to the FBI, Illinois has done nearly as many background checks in the first seven months of this year as they did all of last year.

In 2019, Illinois did 4.9 million background checks for guns the entire year, while the state did almost 4.6 million in the first seven months of 2020.

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