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Gun shops struggle to keep shelves stocked

Police stock up

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The problem for gun shop owners isn’t finding customers. It’s finding the product.

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Supplies are dwindling for .22 rifle ammunition as customers keep buying out supplies from United Loan and Firearm in downtown Augusta.   EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Supplies are dwindling for .22 rifle ammunition as customers keep buying out supplies from United Loan and Firearm in downtown Augusta.

“It’s a sad scenario when you can’t get a gun to sell to the public,” said Stephen Bayazes, the owner of Guns & Ammo Gunsmith in North Augusta.

He said his son has a full-time job making calls and staying on the computer just trying to keep the store stocked.

Most of the cases behind the counter sit empty now, but Bayazes said it’s not for lack of trying.

“There are no AR-15s,” he said. “We just can’t keep the product in the stores.”

The AR-15 is one of the guns that could be affected by a proposed assault weapons ban that will affect almost 160 specific military-style firearms and magazines holding more than 10 rounds.

Many local gun store owners say they do not expect the ban to pass. Instead, they say, it’s created one of the largest ever “panic-buying” frenzies.

Though there are no statistics to gauge gun purchases, FBI background check data can provide a general idea.

From November to January, the FBI ran 7.27 million background checks on potential buyers. From the same period one year earlier, 4.76 million were performed.

Experts say the rise began around the November elections, then increased after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Ele­mentary School in Newtown, Conn., in December. The proposal to ban certain weapons and magazines furthered demand.

Out of the top 10 highest days for background checks, nine occurred since Nov. 23, 2012. The other occurred Nov. 25, 2011.

The numbers are not a clear representation of how many guns have been purchased because it doesn’t take into account the number of denials or firearms purchased after approval, experts say.

Ray Reynolds, the manager of United Loan & Firearms in downtown Augusta, said he saw similar increases in purchases when President Obama took office, but they weren’t as dramatic.

Local shop owners said purchases have increased even more this month as tax refund checks start coming in.

Reynolds said he’s seeing sales increase across all categories of firearms. In years past, Bayazes said, he was selling about 125 pistols a year. Now he’s seeing twice that in a month.

“Everyone is buying anything they can get their hands on,” said Stephen Mel­drum, the club manager at Pine­tucky Gun Club.

That goes for ammunition, too. The most requested are .22-caliber, .223-caliber and 9 mm ammo.

Reynolds said he’s been able to keep an adequate supply of everything except for .22- and .223-caliber ammunition, which has been sold out for the past 30 days.

“Every day I look with my distributors to try and find it,” he said.

Bayazes said the ammo shortage is a result of stockpiling and resale schemes. Some stores have put restrictions on the number of boxes each customer can buy.

“We get ammunition in every day, and every day it’s gone,” he said.

Recently he’s seen customers buying large amounts of ammo just to post the pictures and information online to sites where they can sell it for twice the price.

Police stock up

Law enforcement agencies across the country report experiencing back orders and shortages when it comes to having adequate ammunition for officers, but locally, it hasn’t become a problem.

“We have a surplus. We’re good to go,” said Richmond Coun­ty sheriff’s Lt. Calvin Chew.

He said some orders can now take six or more months to come in, but the department has always ordered early.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office has experienced some delays in shipments, but all orders have been filled.

“We have an adequate inventory,” said sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris.

Panic fading?

Despite ammo shortages, Meldrum said it’s not affecting how conservative shooters are with their bullets at the gun range. Instead, he’s seeing an increase in overall interest in guns and training.

He doesn’t expect the shortages and frenzy to last much longer.

“Everyone who is probably panic buying has probably got (what they want) by now,” Meldrum said.

He expects that by April or May, the gun business will be back to normal.

A previous assault weapons ban, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994, expired in 2004. Most shop owners don’t expect a new ban to become law. However, most support more mental health and background checks for buyers.

Bayazes said he’s concerned about the perception some people have of these guns.

In August, he used an AR-15 to fire 30 rounds at three men who drove a stolen van through the side of his store while he and his wife slept in an apartment in the back.

The men, who had been loading merchandise into the van, yelled “kill him” just before Bayazes fired the first shot. Two got away despite being shot several times, but one died at the store.

“I still live with the nightmare every night that someone is going to come in and do it again,” he said.

Comments (18) Add comment
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Gage Creed
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Gage Creed 03/02/13 - 11:14 pm
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“Everyone who is probably

“Everyone who is probably panic buying has probably got (what they want) by now,” Meldrum said.

I wish someone had told all those folks at the gun show in Columbia today....

Darby
27002
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Darby 03/03/13 - 01:24 am
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Keep ordering....

I still haven't gotten that last 30 round magazine I wanted...

nocnoc
45118
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nocnoc 03/03/13 - 08:33 am
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Reload & Buy as you can.

Given the Social Democrats 50 year track record of more and more knee jerk gun control laws. A gun owner would have to blind to the world not to stock up as he or she can.

We hear famous quotes like:
"When second count police are minutes away." Or,
"Criminals by definition don't obey laws, so gun control laws only hurt citizens." Or, "Ban guns and criminals will still have guns, just not their victims."

Sadly each of those have too much historical validity.

But, in regards to the ammo shortages.
Aside from many owners understanding the nature of Social Democrats and hoarding what they can find. The ongoing cause of the national ammo shortages is Federal government related.

News Report after NEWS Report and photos of the stock piles have shown the Federal Government is purchasing over 2/3's of civilian caliber ammo production runs. 2.4 Billions rounds over the last 10 months, which is enough ammo rounds.

To provide some perspective, experts estimate that at the peak of the Iraq war American troops were firing around 5.5 million rounds per month. At that rate, DHS is armed now for a 20+ year Iraq war, but in USA?

WHY

CobaltGeorge
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CobaltGeorge 03/03/13 - 08:46 am
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4
The Handwriting was On The Wall 4 Years Ago

with the election of a known King SMNCICBHO, a Hammer & Sickle Man. I now can sit back knowing I have all the AR's and Ak's, 30 rounds magazines and Ammo to be prepared to what will come.

I have 3 real Heavy Duty 48 gun safes fill to a point that I can't even put a 20 round box of .22's in any of them. The prices was a steel before the buying frenzy of the waking up of American citizens.

So many could not see or accept the fact that they had elected an Al Qaeda plant for their American leader.

Bantana
2071
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Bantana 03/03/13 - 08:52 am
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Strong words concerning a harsh reality

There is a bit of profanity in this clip, but more shocking are the sentiments expressed that expose the frustration with the myth of what some consider to be the greatest country in the world. If you care: http://www.safeshare.tv/w/UAGOcLSuLX

Once again, my apologies for the language.

TrukinRanger
1748
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TrukinRanger 03/03/13 - 08:53 am
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These comments are exactly
Unpublished

These comments are exactly why there needs to be more gun controls. To keep these unnecessary killing weapons out of the hands of kooks. A shotgun, rifle, standard handgun is all that's needed for your personal protection.

soapy_725
43772
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soapy_725 03/03/13 - 08:58 am
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By definition criminals do not obey laws, but
Unpublished

some criminals actually write laws in every state house and in Congress. Politicians may enter public service with a idea of making a difference for good. They immediately learn that is a fantasy and resolve themselves to the business of getting reelected.

CobaltGeorge
165061
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CobaltGeorge 03/03/13 - 09:39 am
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Bantana....Unbelievable!

Viewed it 3 times.....even though I don't agree with you many times..you hit the best of the best on that one....It is hell when facts of non-PC hit you in the face!

InChristLove
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InChristLove 03/03/13 - 03:49 pm
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Bantana, i don't normally

Bantana, i don't normally find my self agreeing with what you post but wow is all I can say about the video....makes you revaluate just how much has changed over the years....(and not for the better)

specsta
6595
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specsta 03/03/13 - 05:53 pm
2
2
Sad?

“It’s a sad scenario when you can’t get a gun to sell to the public,” said Stephen Bayazes, the owner of Guns & Ammo Gunsmith in North Augusta.

The word 'sad" doesn't really come to my mind just because someone can't get their hands on an AR15. What is sad is that some Americans feel the need to own such a weapon.

CobaltGeorge
165061
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CobaltGeorge 03/03/13 - 06:47 pm
0
2
Darn

I never thought I would be classified as "SAD" but now being informed, I guess I am!

Bantana
2071
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Bantana 03/03/13 - 08:23 pm
4
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Thanks George and ICL

It's all about dialog between those that disagree and I do appreciate you all taking a few moments to listen to a scene from the raging progressive tv writer/producer Aaron Sorkin. Regardless of who wrote the words, there is truth in what was said. The USA hasn't been first in any positive category for decades. Our world is so full of greed, hate and misunderstanding. And that's understandable when we see decent values under attack from all corners. I realize my values aren't those held by everyone. But, I do try everyday to live as Christ would want me to and forgiveness is paramount. Often that doesn't do much, except to give me personal peace. I don't know what the answer is to the decay, but I do know that I try to listen and understand other's points of view with the hope that I can be part of moving our country forward by projecting a reasonable and empathetic state of being. I can only pray that my children have any sort of safe, clean and loving world to share with their children. Where there is love, there is hope.

itsanotherday1
45503
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itsanotherday1 03/03/13 - 08:38 pm
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Bantana

Count me in with ICL and CG. I shared your link on FB.

itsanotherday1
45503
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itsanotherday1 03/03/13 - 08:51 pm
1
1
nocnoc

I can't get on board with you about conspiratorial stockpiling of gumment ammo.

This is but one site debunking it; others include Fox News: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2013/02/27/sarah_palin_stockpilin...

RoadkiII
6703
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RoadkiII 03/03/13 - 09:33 pm
1
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I need an AR-15 for the same

I need an AR-15 for the same reason others need an Escalade. Wouldn't a used Nova do just as well?

gargoyle
18677
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gargoyle 03/03/13 - 10:02 pm
0
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itsanoterday1 : how can

itsanoterday1 : how can federal employees use 1.5 billion with a B rounds for training in the next five years and why would they feel the need to ? Think about how many armed FEDERAL employees that are on the books. If they were talking DOD training that would be realistic

itsanotherday1
45503
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itsanotherday1 03/03/13 - 10:07 pm
0
0
Google it for yourself

Google it for yourself Gargoyle. There are logical explanations.

gargoyle
18677
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gargoyle 03/03/13 - 10:26 pm
0
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Yes many explanations but the

Yes many explanations but the numbers don't match . If the ammo was shared with state agencys that might fly but they aren't .Ask the question why do the FEDS feel the need for army type training and military type and QUANITY of munitions

RoadkiII
6703
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RoadkiII 03/04/13 - 08:04 am
0
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Civilian vs Military Ammo

A few weeks ago Humble Angela posted a link giving the times that various calibers of ammo were developed for civilian arms and then adopted by the military. I wish I could find that link for some of you again. Maybe you should be asking why the military is using civilian ammo.

Example that most everyone THINKS they are familiar with... .223 civilian round is the same as the 5.56 military round. The .223 was on the market BEFORE the military started testing/experimenting with the first M-16. Please look this up for yourself before you accuse me of giving false information.

I used to think ignorance could be fixed, but apparently I was wrong.

**note to Sean, I am using ignorance in the literal form.**

Darby
27002
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Darby 03/04/13 - 06:38 pm
1
0
"What is sad is that some Americans

feel the need to own such a weapon."

.
What is really sad is that ALL AMERICANS don't UNDERSTAND the need to own such a weapon.

xtremeoutdoorsmen
9
Points
xtremeoutdoorsmen 03/04/13 - 08:22 pm
0
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What is really sad is a crook
Unpublished

What is really sad is a crook like Stephen Bayazes is allowed to not only sell guns but be allowed around guns! http://www.edgefielddaily.com/b092006.html If you need an AR15 Palmetto State Armory gets them in and they do not price gouge; they are I believe 750.00! My Advice stay away from Stephen Bayazes! He is a liar and a crook!

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