Local News

Local sheriffs concerned about ammunition shortage

Situation forcing changes in training

DENVER - Whether it's because of the federal government or gun owners stockpiling it, area sheriffs said they're closely watching the situation involving the high demand for and low supply of ammunition.

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said he's still waiting an order for the first half of 2013, and as a result has to double his order for the second half of the year.  He also plans to build a six-month reserve of ammunition as a safety net.

"With the passage of Question 1-A, we're in a very aggressive hiring situation," said Maketa, referring to last fall's voter-approved sales tax increase for public safety needs.  "For the first time in my law enforcement career, an order we placed back in January probably will not be produced until June or July, with possible delivery as late as August."

Maketa said the ammunition shortage also means training less often, and that there will be fewer opportunities for deputies to qualify for weapons certification.

Jim Beiker of Fremont County blamed the situation partly on the two new gun control laws, saying they have driven gun owners to stockpile ammunition out of uncertainty.

"We're in some cases a year out in trying to receive ammunition that we use to train and carry on duty," he said.  "I'm very concerned about it."

David Weaver of Douglas County said the situation doesn't affect him as much as it does Maketa and Beiker, but he's wary of the trend.

"It's going to be tough," he said.  "I hear people say they want to buy ammunition and they can't find it.  There's only so much to go around.  We'll have to be more frugal."

The three sheriffs said for the present, they have enough ammunition to meet most of their basic needs.

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