Always be alert for the occurrence of a squib load and the possibility of a barrel obstruction.
If you do not know what a SQUIB LOAD is and how to recognize it, it is strongly suggested you learn ASAP.
Technically defined, a squib load is an underpowered charge. That underpowered charge could result in a barrel obstruction.
A squib load is most notably recognized by an odd sound. While shooting, should you hear an odd sound, a sound different from the big bang, kaboom or crack, you normally hear or only heard when firing that last volley of shoots, CEASE FIRE immediately, following safe gun handling practices, inspect the gun for a barrel obstruction.
Firing another round, following a squib load, that resulted in a barrel obstruction, could result in the firearm blowing up in your hand and you loosing parts of your hand as a result.
Number 1 . . .
Number 2 . . .
The recalls above are the most recent (June 21, 2021) of two known ones. At the pace manufactures are turning out ammunition, in an attempt to catch up with backorders, quality control has diminished. Always be alert for the occurrence of a squib load and the possibility of a barrel obstruction. It can happen with any ammunition domestic or imported. Be vigilant, be alert, be safe.
Gun owners in San Jose, California, will soon face a yearly tax and be required to carry additional insurance after their city council voted unanimously Tuesday evening to impose the new measures.
The forthcoming fee for gun ownership in the city has not yet been determined, but officials said that anyone found to be in noncompliance will have their weapons confiscated.
The city council’s aim is to try to recoup the cost of responding to gun incidents such as shootings and deaths. According to the Pacific Council on Research and Evaluation, which studied the issue and sent a representative to testify before the panel, gun-related incidents cost the city roughly $63 million every year in the way of paying for police officers, medics and other expenses, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The new measures come just weeks after a disgruntled Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority employee gunned down and killed nine colleagues at a San Jose railyard.
San Jose-based FOX 2 reported that citizens weighed in on the proposal, with some praising the council for the measure and others condemning the move as unconstitutional.
“I strongly oppose more taxation on legal gun owners,” San Jose resident Sasha Sherman told the council. “Each time a gun owner buys ammunition, they pay an 11% tax, plus a background check fee.”
Another speaker argued, “It puts a financial burden on a constitutional right, which is the right to bear arms.”
While the council directed staffers to draft up the law for a final September vote, the dollar amount on the new tax for gun owners has not yet been determined. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo suggested the new annual fine will likely be “a couple dozen dollars,” and claimed insurers assured the city that firearms owners adding gun liability coverage to existing policies would cost the affected citizens little or nothing.
But with no official registry of gun owners either locally or federally, officials recognized that enforcement of the forthcoming taxes and insurance requirements could be difficult if not impossible. So, they said they would authorize any law enforcement officers to confiscate the firearms of any gun owner they stumble upon who does not provide proof that they have complied.
“Crooks aren’t going to follow this law,” Liccardo told reporters. “When those crooks are confronted by police and a gun is identified, and if they haven’t paid the fee or insurance, it’s a lawful basis for seizure of that gun.”
In 2020, the agency seized 10.2 guns per million passengers screened, twice the five firearms per million travelers screened in 2019. It was the highest gun seizure rate since the TSA’s inception 19 years ago.
Walt Disney World Resort has seen a spike of visitors carrying concealed firearms over the past year, the Orlando Sentinel reports, a remarkable trend considering that the world’s largest theme park resort was closed for four months during the pandemic and then in operation at reduced capacity.
At least 20 people were arrested on gun charges in 2020, compared with only four arrests in 2016, according to sheriff’s reports obtained by the Orlando Sentinel through a public records request.
And 2021 is off to a record-breaking start. Deputies arrested at least 14 Disney visitors for carrying concealed firearms in the first three and a half months of the year, through mid-April. If that pace continues, there could be four dozen arrests of this kind this year.
Disney World did not respond to a request for comment.
“Firearms, ammunitions, knives and weapons of any kind” are banned at Disney World, according to its park policy. At the entrance to each theme park, security officials search each visitor’s bags.
Last July, just three days after the Epcot theme park reopened, a Georgia woman was arrested after park security at the Epcot entrance found a 9mm handgun and a plastic bag of marijuana in her child’s diaper bag, as reported by NBC Miami and other outlets. When Orange County deputies responded, they also found a .45 caliber handgun on the bottom of the diaper bag. The woman was arrested on misdemeanor counts of carrying a concealed weapon and marijuana possession.
While not all incidents result in arrest, Disney will separate gun-toting guests from their firearms if they are discovered on Disney property. Last September, a Florida man staying with his family at Disney’s Polynesian Resort packed an AR-15 in a tennis bag and also brought a 9mm Sig Sauer handgun with him, three rifle magazines with 30 rounds each and two Sig Sauer magazines with 10 rounds each, per a report by CBS-affiliated 10 Tampa Bay News. The man claimed he had concerns about recent protests in the area. The Orange County Sheriff’s office did not arrest him because he reportedly had a valid concealed weapons permit in Florida, however the hotel stored the man’s guns for the remainder of his stay. Guests are prohibited from bringing firearms, ammunition or any weapons to its properties, per Disney policy.
During the pandemic, nearly three-quarters of the arrests occurred at Disney Springs, the dining, shopping and entertainment district that is free to enter without a ticket. Until last year, Disney Springs guests did not go through security or bag checks.
Local law enforcement has discretion whether to make an arrest if someone is caught with a concealed weapon and no permit, reports the Orlando Sentinel. Records revealed several instances where the Orange County Sheriff’s Office declined to make an arrest in such circumstances, including an incident where a man who was stopped at the entrance of Hollywood Studios park had no permit for a concealed gun that was gifted to him by his brother, a police officer. In that case, law enforcement took the gun but allowed the man to enter the park with his family.
“Generally speaking, if someone has a valid concealed carry license, they would be afforded the opportunity to put the firearm into safe storage,” a spokesperson for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said via email. “If someone does not have a valid concealed carry permit, they are illegally carrying a firearm and could either be arrested, or the report can be forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office to review, and they can determine whether criminal charges are levied.”
The spike in concealed weapon arrests at Disney World is part of a larger picture in the United States where in both gun sales and gun carrying rose dramatically during the pandemic.
Guns sales in the U.S. surged last year, driven by a variety of factors that include fears about the Covid-19 pandemic, political unrest, and the 2020 election. Nearly 23 million firearms were sold in the United States in 2020, estimates the consultancy Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting (SAAF). It was the busiest year on record for the gun industry, with sales up 65% over 2019. In the first five months of 2021, Americans purchased nearly 9.2 million firearms, compared with the 8.7 million purchased during the same period in 2020, according to SAAF.
And last year, despite a dramatic decline in the number of air passengers flying during the pandemic, the rate at which the TSA discovered guns during routine screenings doubled. In 2020, the agency seized 10.2 guns per million passengers screened, twice the five firearms per million travelers screened in 2019. It was the highest gun seizure rate since the TSA’s inception 19 years ago.
Strong gun sales continued in May, with FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System data showing nearly 1.3 million background checks were conducted pursuant to firearms sales last month. Moreover, the FBI conducted a total of 3.2 million firearm-related background checks of all types – including checks for NICS exempt firearm permits that allow holders to purchase firearms without an additional background check for the next five years. The number of firearm sales checks represents the second-highest May on record, following only the massive firearm-buying surge experienced in May 2020.
Since the surge in gun-buying began at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, those in the firearms industry and even the reluctant news media have made two important observations: (1) The increase in gun purchasing included many first-time gun buyers; (2) Those purchasing firearms did not conform to stereotypes about the “typical” American gun owner
In February, firearm industry trade group the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) released data on the firearm sales increase based on a survey of Federal Firearm Licensees (gun dealers). A press release explained “NSSF estimates that 40 percent of those gun sales were for first-time gun buyers, totaling 8.4 million new gun owners in the United States in 2020.” The item went on to note, “Firearm ownership is also increasingly diverse as sales among women accounted for 40 percent of all sales, and purchases by African Americans increased by 56 percent compared to 2019.
In the early months of the pandemic, the legacy press was forced to cover the increase in gun sales and the diversity of those choosing to exercise their Second Amendment rights
In March 2020, the San Francisco Chronicle shared the story of Petaluma, Calif. gun shop owner Gabriel Vaughn, who told the paper “about 90% of his customers in recent days have been first-time gun buyers.” That same week, the New York Times reported that “Some dealers said an unusually high proportion of sales have been to first-time gun buyers.”
On May 29, the New York Times added to the growing understanding of America’s ongoing and diverse gun-buying surge by reporting on new data from a survey conducted by Northeastern University and the Harvard Injury Control Research Center. While the figures reported were not quite the same as those presented by NSSF, the information painted a picture of a growing and diverse group of gun owners.
Summarizing the findings, the Times explained,
about a fifth of all Americans who bought guns last year were first-time gun owners. And the data, which has not been previously released, showed that new owners were less likely than usual to be male and white. Half were women, a fifth were Black and a fifth were Hispanic.
Adding an anecdote, the New York Times noted,
Many gun store workers reported that last year set records for sales and also that they noticed different types of buyers walking in the door. Thomas Harris, a former law enforcement officer who works at the gun counter at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Roanoke, Va., said that around March last year, the customers he would speak with began to include more white-collar workers, such as people from insurance firms and software companies. He said many of the buyers were not conservative and most had never handled a gun.
With even the gun confiscation proponents at New York Times acknowledging the diverse face of gun ownership in America, anti-gun activists and politicians should take note. The ugly prejudices and stereotypes they share and employ to attack the gun community do not comport to reality and their bigoted campaign becomes more transparent all the time.
Thursday, April 8, 2021 :: By Alexandra Jaffe, Aamer Madhani and Michael Balsamo, Associated Press
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden, in his first gun control measures since taking office, announced a half-dozen executive actions Thursday aimed at addressing a proliferation of gun violence across the nation that he called an “epidemic and an international embarrassment.”
“It is actually a public health crisis,” Biden said during remarks at the White House.
Greeting the families of gun violence victims and activists, he assured them: “We’re absolutely determined to make change.”
His Thursday announcement delivers on a pledge Biden made last month to take what he termed immediate “common-sense steps” to address gun violence, after a series of mass shootings drew renewed attention to the issue. His announcement came the same day as yet another shooting, this one in South Carolina, where five people were killed.
But Thursday’s announcement underscores the limitations of Biden’s executive power to act on guns. They include moves to tighten regulations on homemade guns and provide more resources for gun-violence prevention, but fall far short of the sweeping gun-control agenda Biden laid out on the campaign trail.
Indeed, the White House has repeatedly emphasized the need for legislative action to tackle the issue. But while the House passed a background-check bill last month, gun control measures face slim prospects in an evenly divided Senate, where Republicans remain near-unified against most proposals.
Biden is tightening regulations of buyers of “ghost guns” – homemade firearms that usually are assembled from parts and milled with a metal-cutting machine and often lack serial numbers used to trace them. It’s legal to build a gun in a home or a workshop and there is no federal requirement for a background check. The goal is to “help stop the proliferation of these firearms,” according to the White House.
The Justice Department will issue a proposed rule aimed at reining in ghost guns within 30 days, though details of the rule weren’t immediately issued.
A second proposed rule, expected within 60 days, will tighten regulations on pistol-stabilizing braces, like the one used by the Boulder, Colorado, shooter in a rampage last month that left 10 dead. The rule will designate pistols used with stabilizing braces as short-barreled rifles, which require a federal license to own and are subject to a more thorough application process and a $200 tax.
The department also is publishing model legislation within 60 days that is intended to make it easier for states to adopt their own “red flag” laws. Such laws allow for individuals to petition a court to allow the police to confiscate weapons from a person deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.
The department also will begin to provide more data on firearms trafficking, starting with a new comprehensive report on the issue. The administration says that hasn’t been done in more than two decades.
Biden is also nominating David Chipman, a former federal agent and adviser at the gun control group Giffords, to be director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The Biden administration will also make investments in community violence intervention programs, which are aimed at reducing gun violence in urban communities, across five federal agencies.
Officials said the executive actions were “initial steps” completed during Garland’s first weeks on the job and more may be coming.
The ATF is currently run by an acting director, Regina Lombardo. Gun-control advocates have emphasized the significance of this position in enforcing gun laws, and Chipman is certain to win praise from this group. During his time as a senior policy adviser with Giffords, he spent considerable effort pushing for greater regulation and enforcement on ghost guns, changes to the background check system and measures to reduce the trafficking of illegal firearms.
Chipman spent 25 years as an agent at the ATF, where he worked on stopping a trafficking ring that sent illegal firearms from Virginia to New York, and served on the ATF’s SWAT team. Chipman is a gun owner.
He is an explosives expert and was among the team involved in investigating the Oklahoma City bombing and the first World Trade Center bombing. He also was involved in investigating a series of church bombings in Alabama in the 1990s. He retired from the ATF in 2012.
During his campaign, Biden promised to prioritize new gun control measures as president, including enacting universal background check legislation, banning online sales of firearms and the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. But gun-control advocates have said that while they were heartened by signs from the White House that they took the issue seriously, they’ve been disappointed by the lack of early action.
With the announcement of the new measures, however, advocates lauded Biden’s first moves to combat gun violence.
“Each of these executive actions will start to address the epidemic of gun violence that has raged throughout the pandemic, and begin to make good on President Biden’s promise to be the strongest gun safety president in history,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety.
Anti-gun Senators and Mayors Push Biden on Executive Gun Controls
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd speaks on Joe Biden’s gun control proposal.
Anti-gun Senators and Mayors Push Biden on Executive Gun Controls
NRA-ILA :: MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2021
Following a year filled with the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread civil unrest, Americans are in no rush to enact further gun controls. According to data from a January Gallup poll, 42 percent of Americans are satisfied with the current gun control laws. The poll also found that 9 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with current firearms laws, but want them to be made less strict. Therefore, according to the survey, a majority of Americans (51 percent) either want gun control laws to remain the same or to be made less restrictive.
Sensing a dearth of popular support for their gun control schemes, anti-gun politicians are urging President Joe Biden to act unilaterally to restrict firearms. This week, a group of 12 Senate Democrats led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) sent a letter to Biden that urged the president to nominate a permanent director to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and empower them to enact a raft of executive gun control measures. In a similar vein, a group of big-city mayors that included Chicago’s Lori Lightfoot penned a CNN opinion piece that called on the president to attack gun rights through executive action.
According to the Senators’ letter, “the next Director of the ATF must be committed to enacting policies that will allow the agency to fulfill its mission to protect communities and combat gun violence.” According to the group, in order to do this the next director must adopt the following priorities:
1. Implement regulations to stop the proliferation of ghost guns.
2. Issue a new regulation clarifying which gun sellers must get dealer licenses and run
3. Modernize, strengthen, and prioritize oversight of the gun industry.
4. Ensure public transparency by disseminating robust statistical data.
5. Update critical reports and develop new ways to affirmatively share information about
gun trafficking and the source of crime guns.
6. Require FFLs to notify the Department of Justice every time they complete a gun sale
where a background check has been initiated but not completed to ensure the
prioritization of completing background checks where a sale has been made.
Some of the items are vague, but others directly correspond to policies that have repeatedly been rejected by the American public through their elected representatives.
The first item on the anti-gun senators’ wish list would restrict Americans’ right to make their own firearms for personal use by further regulating unfinished frames and receivers.
Concerning these items, the current federal statute and regulations are clear. Federal law defines a “firearm” to include “any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive” and “the frame or receiver of any such weapon.” In the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), “firearm frame or receiver” is further defined as “That part of a firearm which provides housing for the hammer, bolt or breechblock, and firing mechanism, and which is usually threaded at its forward portion to receive the barrel.”
In order to target unfinished frames and receivers, ATF would likely attempt to broaden the definition of “firearm frame or receiver” in the CFR. Such a change is inadvisable and would at the very least require a formal rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act.
By targeting the materials Americans use to make their own firearms, ATF would be striking at the core of the Second Amendment right in a manner that has no basis in the text, history, and tradition of the right. Since long before the founding, Americans have enjoyed the right to make their own firearms for personal use without government interference.
(A) except a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer, to engage in the business of importing, manufacturing, or dealing in firearms, or in the course of such business to ship, transport, or receive any firearm in interstate or foreign commerce; or
Therefore, a person may not “engage in the business” of dealing firearms without a Federal Firearms License. Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs), of course, are required to consult the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) before transferring a firearm to a non-dealer.
The term “engaged in the business,” as it pertains to firearms dealers, is defined by statute (18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(21)) as,
a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms;
Notice that the language does not contain a specific number of firearm sales or transfers that triggers the definition of “engaged in the business.” The language in the definition was carefully crafted to exempt individuals selling and trading firearms in and out of their private collections, no matter the frequency or volume. Rather, it is when a person sells firearms “as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit” that a person must obtain Federal Firearms License.
Enacting this statutory definition of “engaged in the business” was a key component of the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act of 1986. Prior to FOPA, ATF had targeted private individuals at gun shows who sold a few firearms out of their private collections on multiple occasions.
In the end, the Obama administration correctly determined that they did not have the authority to limit the private transfer of firearms by executive fiat. Instead, the administration issued a 15-page guidance document that summarized existing law concerning firearms dealing.
Though vague, wish list items four and five appear targeted at the Tiahrt Amendment. This important piece of legislation restricts the dissemination of certain law enforcement data on firearms traces. Prior to the Tiahrt Amendment, the often-misleading data had been abused by gun control advocates to push gun control measures and attack the firearms industry.
Further, the release of this sensitive data had the potential to imperial law enforcement officers. Writing in support of the Tiahrt Amendment, the National President of the Fraternal Order of Police explained “releasing sensitive information about pending cases can jeopardize the integrity of an investigation or even place the lives of undercover officers in danger.” Though the amendment restricts the dissemination of trace data, it does ensure law enforcement can access this information for legitimate investigative purposes.
Item six is an attempt to undermine the NICS’s three-day safety-valve provision by intimidating FFLs into not transferring a firearm even when they are permitted by law to do so.
Under federal law, if a NICS check is delayed for further research and the FBI’s NICS section is unable to determine that the prospective firearm transferee is prohibited from possessing firearms under federal or state law three business days after the check was initiated by a firearms dealer, the firearms transfer may proceed at the dealer’s option. This provision encourages the FBI to conduct NICS checks in an efficient manner and prevents the government from arbitrarily denying an individual their Second Amendment rights through an indefinite delay. According to the 2019 NICS Operations Report only 70 percent of NICS checks that year resulted in an “instant determination,” with the remaining 30 percent requiring some analysis or additional research.
The proposed requirement that FFLs report lawful firearm transfers to the Department of Justice, who through ATF has control over their license, is an obvious attempt to bully gun dealers into cutting off this vital safety-valve. Moreover, there is no statutory language supporting such a scheme.
In addition to Mayor Lightfoot, the CNN column was authored by United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) President and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott. In the piece, the mayors offered a vaguer call for executive action than their more sophisticated federal allies, but explicitly demanded action on “ghost guns” and “strengthening the background check system.”
As the piece pointed out, the mayors are all members of finance tycoon Michael Bloomberg’s gun control group Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Moreover, the group contended that their anti-gun initiative was the result of the winter meeting of the USCM.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the United States Conference of Mayors takes a position of leadership and urges national legislation against the manufacture, importation, sale, and private possession of handguns, except for use by law enforcement personnel, military and sportsmen clubs;
In 2008, USCM joined with Legal Community Against Gun Violence (now Giffords) in a friend of the court brief in the U.S. Supreme Court Case District of Columbia v. Heller that argued in favor of upholding Washington, D.C.’s unconstitutional handgun ban.
It is unsurprising that members of a group that believes the Second Amendment does not constrain their power to enact gun control would believe that the U.S. Constitution and federal law should not constrain President Biden’s.
In late 2015, Obama tasked his White House with doing everything within their lawful authority to pursue gun control through executive action. Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said of Obama’s administrative gun control efforts, “he has asked his team to scrub existing legal authorities to see if there’s any additional action we can take administratively…The President has made clear he’s not satisfied with where we are, and expects that work to be completed soon.” In remarks announcing the new actions, Obama stated “we’re going to do everything we can to ensure the smart and effective enforcement of gun safety laws that are already on the books…”Further, a press release that accompanied the announcement of these measures, stated, “The President and Vice President are committed to using every tool at the Administration’s disposal to reduce gun violence.”
The executive branch has not been granted further power to regulate firearms since the Obama administration “scrub[bed]” the law for avenues to attack gun owners by presidential fiat. The measures advanced by this anti-gun cadre of U.S. Senators and mayors are willful perversions of federal law that NRA stands ready to oppose.
January 2021 now holds the record for most NICS checks conducted by the FBI in any single month.
Shooting Illustrated – Guy J. Sagi : Thursday, February 4, 2021
More than 2.2 million firearms were sold in the United States in January, according to an estimate from Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting (SAAF). The number, which represents a 79-percent increase when compared to the same period last year, is based on the volume of records processed through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Purchases made by people with a valid carry permit in regions that do not require the duplicative check, and some private transactions, are not reflected in the federal figures.
The news comes on the heels of 2020 shattering all previous high-water marks for gun purchases in the nation. SAAF estimates that of the 39,695,315 NICS checks conducted last year, roughly 23 million were firearm-sale related. Administrative use of the system, which includes concealed-carry permit application and renewal, account for the rest of the volume.
January 2021 now holds the record for most NICS checks conducted by the FBI in any single month. A total of 4,317,804 were processed. The system began operation in 1998, but until last month failed to reach the 4 million mark, despite December and June of 2020 coming in at 3,937,066 and 3,931,607, respectively.
Most experts agree last year’s upswing was fueled largely by home- and self-defense concerns due to the ongoing pandemic and periods of civil unrest, although politics contributed significantly to January’s spike, according to SAAF Chief Economist Jurgen Brauer.
“January 2021 certainly started off with a sales ‘bang’ due to the turmoil surrounding the confirmation and inauguration of Mr. Biden as the new U.S. President,” he said. “The 79-percent year-over-year increase, however, was not unprecedented—an even higher increase, of just over 100 percent, was experienced in January 2013, the month Mr. Obama’s second presidential term began.”
By comparison, the total number of NICS checks performed in January 2013 came in at only 2,495,440, roughly 1.8 million fewer than last month.
NRA Shooting Illustrated by Caleb Giddings – Friday, February 5, 2021
Everyone is aware of the ammunition crisis. Major media outlets have covered it, it’s all over what little of your social media feed hasn’t been censored, and I’ve been covering in detail since July. The ammo crisis has been constantly evolving, starting as a mere shortage in the early days of the COVID-19 lockdowns, and progressing to a full-blown crisis as I write this 321 days after March 13th.
What caused it?
The simple explanation is that demand exceeded the supply, then continued to exceed the supply. But to understand how that happened you have to go a little deeper. According to Jason Vanderbrink, President of Federal, CCI, Speer and Remington, before the COVID-19 pandemic, there was considerable excess capacity in the ammunition market.
Manufacturers could make more than they could sell, so supply was abundant and prices were low. You could order a case of 9 mm off the Internet for $200. Manufacturers were prepared for an uptick in sales that normally accompanies a presidential election, but the excess capacity would have been enough to cover that.
2020 had other ideas. The first was the COVID-19 pandemic. Then a summer of civil unrest that sometimes turned violent. A hotly contested presidential election, and then the party of gun control having control of both houses of Congress and the Presidency.
Any single one of those would have spiked demand, but all these factors happening in rapid succession was more than the market could bear. Partly because the NSSF estimates that 7 million new gun owners entered the market in 2020. As Vanderbrink pointed out, if those 7 million new gun owners each bought 100 rounds of ammo, that’s 700 million rounds that the market needs to produce.
To put that in context, the entire commercial market in 2018 made approximately 8 billion rounds. An 8.75 increase in demand wouldn’t shut everything down, but when it’s added on top of the demand created by all the other factors, it becomes too much.
How high is demand?
During a media presentation at Virtual SHOT Show 2021, Winchester said that if they stopped taking orders for .22 LR right now, it would take 2 years to fill all the back-orders. In December, the Vista family of companies, which comprises Federal, CCI, Speer, and Remington, announced they had a $1 billion backlog in orders. In the first 3 months of the COVID-19 lockdown, Winchester experienced a 17-percent surge in orders, which hasn’t tapered off.
Why can’t they build more factories?
The first question on people’s minds is “Why don’t these companies expand capacity?” That’s much easier said than done. Vista, for example, is already running three shifts a day, and operating 24/7. The same is true for Magtech in Brazil. For one of these companies to add capacity, they’d have to build a new space, and buy new machines, and train and staff the new machines.
All that while hoping that the bottom doesn’t fall out of the ammo market like it did in 2017. That investment in extra space costs millions of dollars and takes years to pay off, and if you look at past trends in the ammo market, not even this surge will last forever.
Why are prices so high at the consumer level?
Vista, Winchester, and Magtech/S&B announced a 15-percent price increase to distributors. Distributors have already raised prices, and of course at the retail level prices are coming up. Prices have to come up to create equilibrium. Eventually the cost to the consumer will be high enough that people won’t panic buy 9 mm FMJ. Retailers will start to have more stock than they can sell and prices will start to come down.
The manufacturer price increase helps as well. In a letter to distributors, Vista announced that all back orders would ship with the higher price. If this causes people to cancel their back order, that frees up theoretical capacity to go into the market. Using AmmoSeek to track historical 9 mm prices, the online price for 9 mm seems to have plateaued at between $0.80 and $0.90 per round for quality new manufactured 9 mm, which is actually a good sign.
Why can’t I get primers?
Only two domestic companies make primers, Vista and Winchester. All their primers are going into their production ammo for retail. Normally, the primer market is fed by companies being able to make more primers than they’d ever need to make loaded ammo. In 2020 and now 2021, that’s not been the case, so every primer that rolls off the line is going into a loaded piece of ammunition so the consumers can have something to immediately shoot. It’s a tough situation for reloaders, but the priority will always be the commercial shooting market.
What about the government?
To answer the question right off the bat, no, the government is not buying ammo and stockpiling it in a warehouse somewhere to keep it off the market. The largest government consumer of ammunition is the Department of Defense, and the majority of their ammo comes from the Lake City plant, which is currently administered by Winchester. Lake City is owned entirely by the government—all the machines, all the land, etc. The government then contracts its operation to private companies, with Winchester taking over for Northrop Grumman in 2020.
Other federal agencies and local LE agencies do source from private manufacturers, but they’re getting squeezed too. Federal contracts are public record, and there has been no unusual ammo related purchasing activity since the shortage began in March. Local LE agencies don’t have the purchasing power to cause a shortage like this, unless there was some secret meeting of all the police chiefs in the country to secretly buy all the ammo (there wasn’t). While it might feel good to believe there’s some sinister force behind the ammo crisis, the answer is a slightly more complicated version of “supply and demand.”
What are the companies doing about it?
As noted above, everything they can. Mike Fisher, the VP of Sales and Marketing at Magtech, said in a phone call, “We’re doing everything we can to get product to our loyal customers. We’ve worked hard to build these relationships and getting them ammo, so they can get it to the consumer, is our first priority.”
In a video statement, Jason Hornady said that they have made a third more ammo this year than they did in the previous year, and also pointed out that there is no government conspiracy to make ammo scarce. As noted above, the price increases across the board will eventually have a stabilizing effect on the supply of ammo, as it will eventually reach a point where most people won’t feel the need to buy.
You can help as well. The most important thing you can do as a consumer is don’t panic. Ammo is available. AmmoSeek shows a daily inventory of what its bots find in stock. There’s ammo for sale on GunBroker and ArmsList. It’s more expensive than any of us would want, but it’s better to have it available than to have empty shelves. The second most important thing you can do is “don’t be that guy.”
You know that guy—the one who finds 55-grain .223 at a great price and cleans the whole place out. That guy sucks. Buy what you need and maybe a little more, but don’t buy 10,000 rounds of ammo you’re going to end up trying to flip to make a car payment in 6 months.
Last, stop repeating conspiracy theories. Contrary to what your favorite YouTube entertainer told you, there’s no government or industry conspiracy to drive up the price of ammo.
When will it get better?
In my first article about this, I optimistically thought that if Republicans retained control of the Senate, we’d be back to normal supply levels with slightly increased pricing by July. Given the state of the back orders, I don’t think we’ll see a return to regular levels of supply now until early 2022.
As far as pricing? Sometime after supply gets back to normal level, and that’s assuming that nothing weird happens in 2021 (everyone knock on wood right now). Right now the best thing to do is stay calm, don’t panic buy, and let the ammo industry do everything they can to get caught up.
West Hartford, CT, February 12, 2021 – Colt Holding Company LLC (“Colt”) hereby announces that on February 11, 2021, it executed a definitive agreement to be acquired by CZG Group SE (“CZG” or “the Group”) Colt is the parent company of U.S. firearms manufacturer, Colt’s Manufacturing Company LLC as well as its Canadian subsidiary, Colt Canada Corporation.
Subject to the terms and conditions of the definitive agreement, CZG shall acquire a 100% stake in Colt for upfront cash consideration of $220 million and the issuance of 1,098,620 shares of newly issued CZG common stock. The agreement also provides for potential earnout consideration of up to 1,098,620 shares of newly issued CZG common stock if defined EBITDA thresholds are achieved in years 2021 – 2023.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Lubomír Kovaík, President and Chairman of CZG, said:
“This merger is a strategic step for both companies. The acquisition of Colt, an iconic brand and a benchmark for the military, law enforcement and commercial markets globally, fits perfectly in our strategy to become the leader in the firearms manufacturing industry and a key partner for the armed forces. We are proud to include Colt, which has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the U.S. Army for over 175 years, in our portfolio. We believe in the successful connection of our corporate cultures, the proven track record of the current management team and the complementary nature of the CZ and Colt brands. The combined group will have revenues in excess of USD 500 million and presents a real small arms powerhouse. The experience of CZ and Colt management will further strengthen both brands and ensure CZ and Colt continue to deliver top quality products and solutions to all our customers.”
Dennis Veilleux, President and CEO of Colt, agreed: “We are very pleased with the prospect of such a strategic combination. Having completed a historic turn-around of the operations and financial performance at Colt over the past five years, this important next step with CZG positions the company to take advantage of significant growth opportunities. We are excited to join forces with CZG which will be a powerful combination for both brands and for our customers.”
The acquisition is to be financed from CZG’s existing cash resources, including recent IPO proceeds, and from a contemplated bond issuance by CZG.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approval but is anticipated to close in the second quarter of 2021.
With this strategic move, CZG will acquire significant production capacity in the United States and Canada and substantially expand its global customer base. Colt is a traditional supplier to global military and law enforcement customers. Among others, Colt is a long-term supplier to the U.S. Army (which relationship dates back over 175 years) and, through its Canadian subsidiary, Colt is a designated exclusive supplier of small arms to the Canadian military.