Police departments react to ammunition shortage

By WEEK Producer

January 23, 2013 Updated Jan 23, 2013 at 11:10 PM CDT

TAZEWELL CO., Ill. -- Talk in Washington about gun control has resulted in some unintended consequences for the East Peoria Police Department.

"A scarcity of certain types of ammunition that we need to train and have our officers carry on duty," explained Chief Dick Ganshaw of the East Peoria Police Department. "In addition, a corresponding increase in cost of that same ammunition.

Chief Ganshaw estimates it might cost his department an additional 10 to 20 percent to buy ammunition this year, if they can find a vendor who can accommodate them.

At gun shops like Midwestern Firearms, demand for ammo has left the shelves half empty. Store Owner John Meek says some of it is panic buying and some of it is...

"Over-buying to resell," said Meek. "A lot of people will buy it on the regular market and then turn around and try to sell it on the internet for a profit."

Meanwhile, some law enforcement planned ahead. Tazewell County Sheriff Bob Huston says his office jumped the gun and placed its annual order for ammo early, just in case history repeated itself.

"After the presidential election four years ago there was quite a bit of talk about new gun control legislation and I know that firearms and ammunition were difficult to come by for several months, maybe a year," said Huston.

The same thing appears to be happening now. Chief Ganshaw suggests the solution is for vendors to voluntarily hold back some of their inventory to sell to law enforcement. However, he doesn't advocate legislation to force it to happen.

"We need to have our needs met on a priority basis so that we can keep our people properly armed and, more importantly, properly trained," said Ganshaw.

That's a target that's a little tougher to hit right now.

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