Ammunition is in short supply – at least at Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), where the retailer has begun to ration bullets.
President Barack Obama’s reelection in November raised concerns for gun advocates that regulations on firearm purchases would be tightened. With the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, last December bringing gun control to the forefront of the national discourse, gun sales have soared as people are worried that their right to buy assault rifles will be curtailed.
Wal-Mart is the largest gun seller in the United States, but high demand has made its ammunition supplies limited. A company spokeswoman, Ashley Hardie, told Reuters on Thursday that its stores had restricted sales of ammunition to three boxes per customer per day.
“Right now we’re monitoring supply issues daily, since supply is limited at this time,” she said. “We’re trying to take care of as many customers as possible and we’re working with suppliers to put products back on shelves.”
The increased demand for ammunition experienced by Wal-Mart is a symptom of a national trend. The U.S. National Instant Criminal Background Check System showed that the number of people requesting gun background checks have soared recently. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, eight of the 10 highest days for gun background checks since 1998 have taken place since the shooting in Newtown.
In light of the growing controversy over gun control, Wal-Mart has made its stance on the issue clear. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer has said that its goal is to “strike the right balance” between supplying hunters and sportsmen and selling weapons responsibly, according to Reuters. As part of this goal, Wal-Mart has adopted the 10-point code established by the Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership that goes beyond legal regulations.
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