University of South Carolina's students, clubs and organizations have experienced increased prices, empty store shelves and purchase limits of ammo due to the ongoing national shortage.
Ammunition industries began showing signs of strain in 2008. Many factors contributed to the current shortage, such as a surge in first-time gun owners, global pandemics, presidential elections, racial climate and production delays, according to Police1.
Carolina Ducks Unlimited, a student organization that raises money for the conservation of the North America wetlands, has experienced this national ammo shortage first-hand.
“We are not a hunting club. We do not sponsor hunts," Isaac Williams, chairman of Carolina Ducks Unlimited and a third-year international business and finance student, said. "We foster a community where people who enjoy hunting are naturally pulled towards."
Williams said the club itself has not been affected by the ammo shortage, but its members have.
"Our members have definitely been affected," Williams said. "A common theme, especially now — it's dove season. It’s about to start being duck season— every meeting we have is like, 'Guys, where can we find ammo?'"
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans not only stocked up on household essentials such as toilet paper and disinfectant spray, but also on ammo and firearms. This stockpiling caused shelves to be bare, resulting in stores limiting how many boxes of ammo customers can purchase, according to an article by WUSA9.
Payton Donahoo, a third-year experimental psychology student and member of Carolina Ducks Unlimited, witnessed empty shelves at Cabela's.
“I’ll try to find ammo for my guns, my mom’s gun there’s, like, none. No revolver ammo, no rifle ammo — it’s just all gone," Donahoo said.
The shortage can cause economic strain, as well. The current price surges have caused USC students to make hard decisions on whether they or not can afford to use their ammo.
Trent Luginbill, a third-year biology student and a member of Carolina Ducks Unlimited, experienced increased prices due to the national ammo shortage.
“I’ll use 556 (ammo) as an example," Luginbill said. "That used to be, I wanna say about 70 to 80 cents per round, about two years ago, three years ago. When I checked two weeks ago, and it was around $1.50 per round."
Elsewhere on campus, the USC Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program, which aims to train college students for future service in the U.S. military, said it has not been negatively impacted by the national ammo shortage.
“The Army and Cadet Command continues to provide all necessary resources to train our top notch Cadets to be successful and achieve their goal to become commissioned officers in the United States Army,” Professor of Military Science and Battalion Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Rausch said in an email statement.
Although the national ammo shortage has made it difficult to find and purchase ammo, families are continuing to spend time outdoors, enjoying the activity they love.
“COVID has pushed a lot of people back to their outdoors. You have a lot who work from home, a lot of people who have realized that spending time with their family is more important than their work because they’ve had to be home with them for the past year,” Williams said. “I went to a public dove field in Gaffney, South Carolina last weekend, and it was packed; there were people everywhere.”
Editors note: Email responses have been edited for grammar and clarity.