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South Georgia gun shop owners struggling with gun, ammunition shortage

Published: Jan. 22, 2021 at 12:26 PM EST
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) - Guns and ammunition are becoming increasingly tough to come by for shoppers as several Valdosta retailers say the industry is facing a national supply shortage.

The photo below was taken by Cook County resident Omega Calhoun and his wife early Monday morning as Academy Sports and Outdoors’ weekly shipment arrived.

Shoppers waited in line early Monday morning as Academy Sports and Outdoors' weekly shipment of...
Shoppers waited in line early Monday morning as Academy Sports and Outdoors' weekly shipment of firearms and ammunition arrived. The photo was taken by Omega Calhoun and his wife.(WCTV)

The two were looking to purchase a firearm.

“All the same thing, buying ammunition,” he told WCTV. “By the time my wife actually got into the store, it was completely wiped out.”

Calhoun says they first began shopping about a month ago at Walmart, then online stores.

“Come to find out, all of them are empty,” he said. “We were in Augusta this past weekend and seen the same exact thing, people buying ammunition and buying firearms. And they’re completely wiping out the shelves.”

Calhoun is also the founder of “We Can’t Breathe: Americans Against Brutality”, a local non-profit advocating for community members to lay down their firearms.

“Not every situation should be a deadly situation,” he said. “We have to find some type of way to de-escalate a situation.”

WCTV reached out to five Valdosta shops for more insight: Academy Sports and Outdoors, T3 Outdoors, Liberty Gunworx, Valdosta Pawn and First Choice Jewelry and Pawn.

While four declined an interview, management at three did say they’re struggling to meet the demand.

At Valdosta Pawn, its “50 to 60″ gun display, a worker says they typically keep fully stocked, showcased only two firearms on Thursday, and little-to-no ammo was available.

First Choice Jewelry and Pawn is now limiting its ammunition sales to customers purchasing a gun, the owner says, due to the shortage.

T3 Outdoors claims it’s falling short as well, turning away between 200 and 250 customers every day.

All three say their shelves began clearing last March, at the start of the pandemic.

“The demand is through the roof, the supply simply isn’t there,” T3 Manager Colby Hall said. “Ammo’s gonna be tight over the next year, from what we’ve been told.”

Owner Jud Tanner says there were “roughly three years worth of guns and ammo sales in a six-month period” nationwide in 2020, and now, they’re seeing the effect.

“People are going to continue to buy more ammo probably than they’ve ever bought, if they can,” he said. “So it’s gonna be a very long time.”

On Thursday, Tanner says his store was stocked with only about 10% of the ammunition he would like to have and about 20% of guns.

“Actually, a lot of times when we open at 10 a.m., we do have people in the parking lot waiting,” he said.

Tanner says it’s not only a local excess in demand, but calls it a national and industry-wide shortage.

“I hope that our government sees that guns are very important to Americans,” he said.

WCTV reached out to one of the store’s suppliers, Federal Ammunition, but did not hear back.

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