Oregon gun stores struggle to meet demand

LA PINE, Ore. (KTVZ/CNN) – Demand for guns has been exceptionally high since the pandemic began, but now the demand is so great that it’s hurting some gun stores.

Several gun stores around central Oregon told KTVZ/News Channel 21 that they are having a tough time keeping enough inventory to match the demand, which is actually leading to a drop in business.

Mike Shahan, who owns La Pine Sporting Goods, says it’s been hard on his small business.

“I still have a lot of people that think, ‘Oh my gosh you’re in the gun industry. You must be doing really well’,” Shahan said. “Well, I did really well until everything that was on my shelves were gone.”

Shahan, like many gun store owners, is now scrambling to find inventory.

He explained, “My suppliers that supply everybody in the United States, they’re all pulling from the supplier, so they’re the first ones to go out. Then I couldn’t restock my shelves.”

The lack of inventory is so intense that Shaman said his customers, many who are recreational shooters, have stopped coming. He said he’s just trying to weather the storm, so to speak.

“It is threatening (the business),” he said. “What I’m trying to do now is make it through this dry area until I can start getting things, because what I tell people is it’s like being a car dealer, you just don’t have any cars to sell.”

A representative for the Bend-based ammo company Nosler explained that they have been taking action to step up their manufacturing as well. In fact a spokesperson told KTVZ/News Channel 21 they’re breaking production records. Their representative explained it this way. “The consumer base of ammunition sharply increased due to the approximately eight million first-time gun owners in the U.S. in 2020, according to national background checks. That’s a uniquely high number of new gun owners in one year and not a measure of growth that ammunition manufacturers were prepared for. Couple those surging numbers with various manufacturers dealing with limited production because of COVID cases and precautions throughout the year, as well as one of the largest ammo manufacturers in the world was closed for business for much of last year to facilitate bankruptcy and a sale.”

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