Las Vegas Sun

April 26, 2015

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Law Enforcement:

Nye County sheriff worries about department’s ammunition supply

No such problem for Metro, Henderson, NLV police departments, officials say


Metro Police Officer Melonie Dredla shoots in 2008 at the department’s firing range in Las Vegas.

When Nye County Sheriff Anthony DeMeo inquired about the department’s usual order of 50,000 rounds of ammunition, he received a startling answer from the ammunition supplier.

It might take up to a year before the department would get its shipment, and it would certainly arrive no sooner than six months. For the first time in DeMeo’s experience in law enforcement, his department was facing a potential ammunition shortage for the upcoming year.

“This is the first time ever I’ve heard that there’s a problem with a law enforcement agency getting ammo for their agency,” DeMeo said.

DeMeo said he’d recently heard of several other police departments nationwide struggling with the same problem. Media reports across the country note police departments from places such as Marinette, Wis., and Sandy Springs, Ga., dealing with ammunition shortages.

In Southern Nevada, however, officials from Metro, Henderson, North Las Vegas and Mesquite police departments have not reported any issues with obtaining ammunition.

“Right now we don’t have any issues, but we’re concerned about next year’s (gun training) qualifications,” DeMeo said. “So right now we’re making sure we will have ammunition.”

There are a few theories about why the supply of ammunition is evaporating like water in the desert. One attributes it to a shortage in copper and bronze, the Gun Store owner Bob Irwin speculated. Another reason, DeMeo said, might be the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s request for a billion rounds of ammunition.

But the biggest reason might be “panic buying,” Irwin said. Many gun owners are stocking up on ammunition out of fear the federal government, in the wake of last year’s Connecticut school shootings, might enact gun control laws that would restrict ammunition purchases.

While ammunition suppliers have rounds designated for law enforcement purchase only, the growing demand might create a shortage of bullets readily available for purchase by police agencies, Irwin said.

For police departments, a shortage could have a huge impact, DeMeo said. Most bullets are used during state-required training. Nye County employs about 110 officers, each equipped with two weapons — one for home and one for work — with which they must pass proficiency standards.

Without a proper supply of ammunition, DeMeo said it could prevent officers from meeting their testing standards, resulting in a disastrous litigation issue if that officer had to fire a weapon on duty. After all, shooting is a skill that deteriorates; it must be proved over and over, DeMeo said.

“God forbid if a citizen is inadvertently (shot) and (an officer) can’t show they qualified in that skill. It could be very problematic for the city, county or state government to defend the lack of qualification training,” DeMeo said.

DeMeo hopes to cut off the looming ammo drought before it arrives. The sheriff’s office can’t purchase any rounds until the next fiscal year, but that could mean bullets might not arrive until the following year. Instead, he said he planned to discuss with the supplier putting in the order before paying for it.

If that doesn’t work, DeMeo said he might ask for the allotted $25,000 in the budget for ammunition ahead of time.

“I thought everyone going out and getting ammo might slow down a bit,” DeMeo said. “It hasn’t.”

Until the craze dies down, DeMeo will have to wait while his department’s ammunition stock dries up.

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  1. The must be tons of ammo in Nye County, just in all the wrong places.

  2. Ya' think it might have something to do with price-gouging?

  3. mar100
    The department of Homeland Security has purchased or contracted for 1.6 billion rounds of 40 and 9mm ammunition. DHS has a new bid out for three hundred thousand more rounds of ammunition. All this on top of their purchase of 1,700 personal protection rifles with selector switches (M16 fully automatic rifles) and has acquired from the military 2,700 fully reconditioned MRAP wheeled armored vehicles.
    DHS has refused to answer questions from Republican members of the House of Representatives as to why and what all this ammunition and equipment is for. The only DHS statement about the ammunition is, its needed for training and buying in bulk is a cost savings..
    Stores routinely do not have any pistol, rifle or shotgun ammunition for sale. The big question, is DHS intentionally starving the civilian ammunition market in a coordinated effort with the White House to promote their gun control efforts.

    Excellent questions, thanks!

    Read more:

  4. This will require police departments and individuals to rely on foreign manufacturers like ARMSCOR, Prvi Partizan, Sellier & Bellot, Fiocchi and others.

    Expect a small section in/or amendment to upcoming legislation to ban ammo importation, especially since ARMSCOR is stepping up to the plate.

    Democrats are discussing many incremental changes that can be made via executive order that they will argue (individually) will not hurt 'responsible gun owners and sportsmen' but what they won't tell you is that they are designed collectively to prevent your ability to acquire or afford ammunition. Some will be restrictions and requirements for wholesalers and retailers that are designed to make their life hard and some are designed to hurt the consumer. Taxes, record keeping, ATF compliance measures, storage & display restrictions and more are all being added or renewed efforts that are intended to price you out of the market or restrict availability.

    Death by a thousand cuts. The only defense is individual involvement through our elected legislators. Leave it up to someone else and it will be too late. And then, what's next? What will you do when they come for you? We need to stop these totalitarian Bill of Rights destroyers now... before it's too late.

  5. "Most bullets are used during state-required training. Nye County employs about 110 officers, each equipped with two weapons -- one for home and one for work -- with which they must pass proficiency standards."

    Why isn't 450 rounds/officer enough?

    "DHS has refused to answer questions from Republican members of the House of Representatives as to why and what all this ammunition and equipment is for."

    MG -- the feds stonewalling Congress is nothing new. Can you say "Fast and Furious"? But, since Congress holds their purse strings, I do hope their budget is choked off for this.

    "The only defense is individual involvement through our elected legislators."

    BRASS -- good point.

    "...government security is just another kind of violence." -- Rep. Ron Paul today @