Immediately after the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Obama, Feinstein, and the rest of the gun-grabbing choir immediately launched into the pre-prepared anti-gun refrain they had saved for the first opportune moment after Obama’s re-election was secured. Predictably, this threw American gun owners into panic mode, since the re-election of a man presiding over an economy on life-support due only to Bernanke’s constant devaluation of the dollar, and whose only accomplishments have been in the realm of destroying what little remains of American society, was so illogical and preposterous that they didn’t know whether the next move from the White House would be an executive order to stop all gun sales or invasion of their homes by DHS for being dangerous Christians.
About this time I assessed my supply of reloading components, and realized that I was perilously low on a number of items, particularly primers. We are fortunate to have two very large sporting goods emporiums practically adjacent to each other, one a national chain and the other local boys who done good, a few miles from my home, so I dutifully drove over to pick up a few hundred or so. Imagine my surprise when I found virtually bare shelves, and signs everywhere limiting purchases to five boxes. I am accustomed to buying primers in the 1000 piece cases, as that is enough for only 20 boxes of pistol rounds anyway, but I bought five boxes of 100 each of large pistol and large pistol magnum, for .41 mag., .44 mag., and .45, etc. They had no small pistol or small pistol magnums, for 9mm, .38, .357, etc., in stock at all. I thought this may be because the local boys had just moved in, so I then checked out the national chain store. They were completely out as well.
I then went home, got on the Internet, and checked out the large outfits with catalogs from whom I have ordered for years. Unbelievably, they, too, were completely out of everything. They did allow me to request notification when their back-orders came in, so I was forced to content myself with that.
As I put the few boxes that I had managed to procure away, I realized my powder supply was also dangerously low. So, a few weeks later, I returned to the stores and took my list of powders that I needed. At that time they still had no primers, but they did have a few cans of powder, so I bought some 700X, which is good for pedestrian loads in a lot of handgun cartridges, as well as shotgun loads, and thought I would return at a later date for rifle powder when their primers came in.
Since that time, I received several on-line notifications that primers were again available, but by the time I clicked to order, even if I was at the computer when the notifications arrived, they were sold out. As of last night, our stores have no primers, no powder, and virtually no loaded ammunition, unless you shoot a very unpopular caliber. There are guns to be bought, particularly handguns, but unless you plan to throw them at an attacker, they will not be very effective without ammunition.
So why is this the case? One reason may be that this is a stealth “gun control” method by Obama & Co., using simple market economics (why they cannot understand this basic economic concept when it comes to the rest of the economy is another question). Simple supply and demand dictates that when demand goes up, so does the price. Think how much you might be willing to pay for a bottle of Dasani in the middle of the Sahara desert. Scarcity ensues, and the price continues to rise until entrepreneurs create more supply capacity. That supply adjustment, however, can take a very long time.
The government has been doing this with agricultural subsidies for years. We are blessed in this nation with the capacity to produce a lot of food, but that excess supply lowers the price of the food. The Dairy Product Price Support Program, which began with the Agricultural Act of 1949, sets parity prices for milk, butter, cheese and other dairy products. The government then uses your tax dollars to buy enough of these products so that the price stays high and you can pay more for them at your grocery store. What a great country!
We have all read varying accounts of recent massive purchases, despite our fiscal crisis, of ammunition by various government agencies. Many stories have come out, and with the usual obfuscation by the Obama administration it is difficult to know exactly what is going on, but DHS admits that they are buying at least 750 million rounds. That’s a lot of ammo. It is, in fact, more than double the amount per person than the Army uses. There is a lot of concern that this ammo, which uses expensive hollow-point bullets, hardly for target shooting, is to be used against American patriots, and that is definitely of concern, especially after the recent display in Boston. But what if the huge purchase is just to divert ammo and components from the civilian market, and raise the price of what does seep through?
Another move by the Department of Defense appears to indicate that instead of providing once-fired military brass to the civilian reloading market, the military may be looking at shredding and destroying the brass, which would reduce the supply and increase the cost of those components. Why else would the government rather sell the brass as scrap rather than more expensive formed cases?
These measures, and others, may be yet another example of the genius of the Left currently in charge in Washington to accomplish their goals quietly in the background, using Executive Orders and bureaucratic manipulation to bring about the “change” they desire. They may fail in a frontal attack on the Second Amendment, but they are doing an end run around it in myriad ways while we sleep.
The other factor is simply paranoia. Those of us who lived through the “gas crisis” in 1973 remember being in long lines extending blocks to the filling stations, only to find the station had run out of gas before we got to it. A huge ripple effect was felt throughout the economy, with rationing and other government interference, plus a new emphasis on conservation. This scenario was played out recently in New York as well after the damaging storms. The shortages in 1979, we were told, were the result of OPEC’s manipulative oil embargo. People were scared they would not have gas, so they frantically tried to keep their tanks full at all times, as they were advised by “experts”. Prices, of course, increased dramatically when gas could be found. What many people do not know is that when you look at the amount of oil we imported during that time period, you will quickly see that there was NO DECREASE; imports actually increased during that period.
So why were there shortages? Sociologists call this the Thomas theorem, after which states, “If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences”. When people think there will be a shortage of something, they buy it and “hoard” it, which in turn creates the situation they feared. A classic self-fulfilling prophecy. The supply system tunes itself with Adam Smith’s invisible hand to provide enough gas for average use. The average car tank is about half full. When people suddenly insist that their tanks be completely full at all times, a huge demand is created that would require a major increase in importing and refining capacity to fulfill.
A lot of the current ammo and component shortage is probably due to the Thomas theorem playing out. So, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that if equilibrium is ever restored after the craziness of liberal anti-gun rhetoric passes, and people stop their panicky buying, supplies should return to normal. The bad news is that, like gas, the prices will never return to pre-panic levels.