MADISON (WKOW) -- Talk of stricter gun laws in Washington has some people stockpiling ammunition, which could be hurting local police departments.
Manufacturers and suppliers have been overwhelmed with orders from the public. Police say ammo shortages have been an issue for several years, especially during wartime, but they believe gun control talks have made it worse. If stricter gun laws are passed, it could mean certain types of ammo will be unavailable to the public in the future, so gun users are buying up stock, causing the shortage.
27 News checked in with a number of area police departments and many say they're struggling to find ammunition supplies for their officers.
At DeForest Police Department, officers do gun training at least five times a year, which uses up a lot of ammo. Lt. Daniel Furseth says just a few weeks ago he tried to buy ammo from a regular supplier.
"The last order that I put in for rifle ammunition was a seven month wait to get that, so we have to make do with what we have from last year to try and get halfway through the 2013 [training]." says Furseth.
At Shorewood Hills Police Department, Sgt. Corey Denzer says he tried to get ammo prices this week, but the department's usual supplier said it couldn't even provide a pricing quote because they have no ammo for sale. Shorewood Hills trains 12 officers, shooting about $200 worth of ammo every year, which is tough on a tight budget. Denzer says the department is fully stocked for the rest of 2013, but worries about what could happen in 2014.
Middleton Police Chief Brad Keil responded saying his department hasn't had problems with price increases or delays so far, but he anticipates it will change soon. When the war in Iraq began, Middleton police had to wait nearly a year to get its ammunition. Keil expects to feel the effects of the gun proposals later this year.
Madison police haven't had any problems purchasing ammunition lately. Sgt. Tony Fiore says the department tries to keep an adequate supply on hand at all times, and plans at least six months to a year in advance when making purchases. The department budgets $100,000 for ammunition and other supplies for range shooting practice. Fiore says ammo prices have been steadily increasing for the past five years.
Furseth says he's been shopping around for ammo for DeForest, looking for any supplier in the nation that can offer a good price with no backlog. DeForest budgets about $5,000 for ammo and range rental.
He says the problem mainly affects training ammo. Officers aren't going on patrol with empty guns, but some training sessions have had to be postponed at certain departments due to shortages.
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