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Associated Press, Published March 10 2013

South Dakota gun show vendors capitalize on demand for bullets

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Firearms dealers in North and South Dakota say they're cashing in on the demand for bullets.

Vendors at a weekend gun show in Sioux Falls said the price of ammunition has tripled in some cases and gun owners are stocking up bullets for nearly every caliber of gun, even some that rarely sell out.

Tom Raines, president of the South Dakota Shooting Sports Association, said people tend to hoard when they expect a shortage of something.

“It's not a real crisis sort of thing,” Raines told the Argus Leader (http://argusne.ws/Zb7ez4 ). "It's an emotional sort of thing. 'I need a box, so I'll buy a case.'"

The weekend show was the fifth of 11 events scheduled by the Dakota Territory Gun Collectors Association this year in North and South Dakota. Tony Naatjes, who owns gun shops in Sioux Falls and Winner, said attendees are reporting bullet shortages everywhere.

“There's nothing up by the (Twin) Cities. There's nothing down in Omaha. My dad was in Texas and Florida. There's nothing down there. It's nationwide,” Naatjes said.

Naatjes said a rush on ammo in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Connecticut last December — amid fears it would lead to stringent new gun control measures — accounts for some of the tight ammunition supply.

Dealers said the commercially manufactured rifle ammunition in shortest supply is for military calibers such as .223, for handgun calibers such as 9 mm and .40 caliber, and even for the cheaper .22 caliber gun.

Jeff Newell, a sporting goods salesman in Lewiston, Idaho, said a co-worker last week took delivery of a few boxes of .22 cartridges, and customers “were taking them out of his hands before he could even get them on the shelf. It is that bad.”

Gun store owner Vic Carter, of Castlewood, said ammunition factory representatives have told him to expect shortages to continue for at least six months.

“People buy everything,” Carter said. “No matter what price I put on it, they just buy it. It's crazy.”