Ammunition shortage hitting some law enforcement agencies - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Ammunition shortage hitting some law enforcement agencies

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MORGANTON, NC (WBTV) -

Empty shelves for some grades of ammunition at gun shops is now translating into worries among some local law enforcement officials about the ability to get enough bullets for training.

Burke County still has not received a shipment of training ammunition it ordered last year. Other counties and municipal police agencies say their supplies on hand are also tight for the same reason.

The training ammunition is different from what is used during the normal course of duty but just as important, say officials.

"Shooting is a perishable skill," said Burke Sheriff's Deputy Lt. Jeff Robinson. "If you don't shoot your shooting skills can diminish." Deputies spend several days a year at the firing range practicing the skills they have and learning new ones.

On top of that, to maintain certification to carry weapons while on duty, law enforcement officers must go through a yearly qualification test on the range.

The problem right now is that there has been a run on ammunition at local gun shops. Much of what is sold there for pistols and some rifles is the same type of ammunition law enforcement agencies use in training.

At the American Pawn and Trade shop in Lenoir there are bare spots where some ammunition should be. "We are out of 9mm and don't have much in the way of 40 caliber," said one man who works there.

The situation is similar at most other places where weapons and ammunition are sold. "It's all supply and demand," said Lt. Robinson. 

The run on ammunition coincides with increased talk in Washington about possible proposals to limit how much people can buy and what types. Experts are not sure how long the scramble for ammunition by the public will last.

Sheriff's officials in Burke County say they are okay for now on ammunition used on duty and are not at the critical level on training supplies but are concerned what could happen if the current trend continues. "It might have an effect on training to some degree."

Officials say they will keep ordering what they need and keep hoping those orders are filled.

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