Traverse City Record-Eagle

March 22, 2013

Another View: Stop ammo hoarding — in case of zombies

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — If you’re a hard-core fan of the AMC series “The Walking Dead,” and you’re living in constant fear that you’ll one day wake up to a world suddenly taken over by flesh-eating zombies, then by all means, it makes sense to stockpile as much ammunition as humanly possible.

But the chances of a zombie takeover are slim, so gathering thousands of rounds of handgun and rifle bullets isn’t really necessary.

Unfortunately, that kind of stockpiling is happening today — but not because of the fear of the living dead. Instead, it’s the fear of President Obama and the possibility of new gun control regulations that have some Americans buying up all the rounds they can for their weapons. ...

Rounds for popular handgun calibers are also hard to find, and .223 and 5.56-mm ammunition is becoming increasingly scarce.

The latter two at least make sense. Ever since last year’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn., there have been rumors of strict regulations coming down on so-called assault rifles. These military-style semi-automatic rifles typically shoot a .223 round, while other versions use a 5.56-mm or even a .308.

For years, these bullets were mass-produced and easy to find. But these days, they’re becoming increasingly difficult to locate.

Shooters are afraid that outlandish new taxes will soon be levied on these bullets, or that background checks will be required in order to purchase them. Others fear the flat-out banning of these and other popular weapons and ammunition.

The result? They’re flying off the shelf faster than retailers can get them in.

The sad truth of the matter is that these conspiracy theorists are ruining it for everyone else.

The casual gun owner who likes to take his .22 rifle out into the woods and plink away at empty pop cans and paper plates with his kids can no longer find ammunition to do so.

Bullets that used to cost just pennies apiece are now being snatched up by hoarders and, in some cases, sold on the Internet for ridiculous profits.

Many retailers are putting strict limits on the amount of ammunition that people can purchase — but even so, shelves remain bare.

Some feel that the ammo shortage is a short-term phenomenon, and once the immediate fear of radical change passes, things will return to normal.

Let’s hope so, because if there is a sudden invasion of zombies — or squirrels, pop cans or whatever — it would be nice to know that there’s enough ammo out there for everyone.

Grand Haven Tribune