From Shaman’s Rock
By Jim Poling Sr.
It’s been a while since I’ve gone shopping at a gun store, but I found myself in one last week.
A target shooter was having trouble finding ammunition and asked me to check a gun store near my place. A clerk at that store said he had some of the shells I was looking for, but not all.
“How about some .410 shotgun shells?” I inquired.
He looked at me and laughed. Then he said the store had got in 380 boxes of those shells and sold them out in 48 hours.
Four-ten-gauge shotgun shells are commonly used for small game hunting – like rabbits and partridge. But the small game season is long past in most places so why the run on the ammunition?
“Hoarding.” The clerk answered. “People are buying ammunition by the case.”
A bit of research confirms the clerk’s statement. Canadian and American gun enthusiasts say they are experiencing “the great ammo” shortage that worsened with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The shortages had been developing for several reasons, including more ammo production directed to the war in Ukraine and fear of even more firearms restrictions in Canada and the U.S.
The pandemic disrupted production and delivery of materials used in making ammunition. Ammunition imports to the U.S. fell 34 per cent during the pandemic.
But a key factor in ammunition shortages is fear. People are worried about what’s happening in their world. Will growing tensions between superpowers lead to world war? Will Covid worsen or be followed by a more severe virus? Will increasing violence cause governments to impose even more firearms restrictions? What’s happening with the world economy?
These fears have been driving up U.S. gun production and sales, which have doubled in the last two decades.
Panic buying is not limited to toilet paper and cough and cold meds during a pandemic. Runs on other items are common in times of uncertainty.
Hoarding ammo makes sense to a lot of people. It is relatively easy. As easy as stockpiling canned goods. Ammo doesn’t go bad and eases the mind of anyone worried about some catastrophic event.
Yes, stockpiled ammo might help save your life during a catastrophe. It also could save avid shooters a lot of money during shortages when prices go through the roof.
There is good reason for concern – outright fear for some – of government seriously restricting the ownership and use of firearms. Politicians in Canada and the U.S. are being screamed at to do something to stop rising gun violence.
Gun-related crime in Canada has increased by 42 per cent in the last 10 years, mainly because of gang crime in Toronto. Already this year there have been 9,000 gun deaths in the U.S., including about 120 mass murders.
Some Canadians say more firearms restrictions, or even bans, are needed to stop the violence. Canadians seem to prefer tackling tough problems with restrictions, bans and punishments. That’s not the approach needed to solve problems related to guns.
Violence is a manifestation of social unrest, which is being seen increasingly in mass demonstrations, attacks on police and other nasty civil disorders. We won’t stop violence of any kind until we clearly identify all the reasons behind social unrest and begin to fix them.
And, will never see effective fixing until we begin to produce effective leadership. We just do not have that at the federal or provincial levels.
We have a lot of nice people in politics. People tied to their own brands of politics, parties and interests. We don’t have the dynamic, independent leaders we desperately need today.
We need new leaders willing to listen to many voices. Willing to shape their leadership from what they hear and see, and have the ability to pull people together into collective leadership.
That type of leadership once existed here – long before Europeans arrived. Most Indigenous groups had collective leadership systems that focused on community and common good rather than individual desires and needs.
This is the type of leadership we need today. If we can find it, perhaps we will stop hoarding out of fear for our futures. And my target shooting friends will be able to find the ammunition they need.