Police Departments Beg And Barter For Ammo While DHS Buys Up 1.6 Billion Rounds In Past Year

Gregory Gwyn-Williams, Jr. | March 22, 2013 | 9:25am EDT
Font Size

The nationwide shortage of ammunition has left many police departments scrambling to get their hands on the necessary rounds - with some even bartering among each other.

Meanwhile, Rep. Timothy Huelskamp (R-Kansas) says the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has failed to respond to multiple members of Congress asking why DHS bought more than 1.6 billion rounds in the past year.

Police Chief Cameron Arthur of Jenks, Oklahoma says, "Ammunition and assault weapons in general have skyrocketed...In addition to the fact, not only is it a lot more expensive, but the time to get it could be six months to a year, or in some cases even longer."

Arthur says he is waiting on an order placed last October and that many departments have begun to trade and barter with each other because of the high demand.

"Most police departments are having a very difficult time even getting the necessary ammunition for handguns, shotguns and especially rifles," Arthur said.

"With the delay in ammunition, some departments are limiting the number of rounds they carry in their handgun because of the shortage of ammunition. We get to the point where it is difficult to have enough ammo to train and also equip the officers."

Chief Pryor of Rollingwood, Texas says of the shortage:

"We started making phone calls and realized there is a waiting list up to a year.  We have to limit the amount of times we go and train because we want to keep an adequate stock."

"Nobody can get us ammunition at this point," says Sgt. Jason LaCross of the Bozeman, Montana police department.

LaCross says that manufacturers are so far behind that they won't even give him a quote for an order.

"We have no estimated time on when it will even be available," LaCross says.

He worries that when ammunition is finally available the high price will squeeze the department's budget.

"The other options are to reduce the amount of training and things like that," he said.

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Department has also cut down on firearm training due to the high cost and low supply of ammunition.

"The concern over firearms availability and ammunition availability and potentials of gun control certainly has impacted the availability of ammunition purchased locally," Sgt. Jody Mays says.

He says the department has cut a third of their normal in service firearm training:

"It's forced use ammunition more economically."

Police Chief John Mabry in Marinette, Wisconsin says, "Ammo is expensive and lot tougher to get. People don't have it in stock and it's back-ordered."

His colleague, Menominee Chief, Brett Botbyl agrees: "We're looking at a four to nine-month wait."

Some departments have even applied for grants to pay for the high-priced ammunition.

"The Florence Police Department is looking for some help filling its clips," reports

Chief Tom Szurlinski says the grant would go a long way given the price and limited supply of ammunition.

See more "Right Views, Right Now."

mrc merch